Taylor Clinton The Signal
On April 29, 2011, my 18-year-old sister, 12-year-old sister and 8-month-old son loaded into my car after leaving my grandmother’s funeral.
Reminiscing about better times and laughing at old stories lightened the mood. We were only making a quick stop at my house before meeting up with the rest of our family.
As we slowly rolled up to a stop sign, I paused for three seconds before proceeding into the intersection. Three…two… one.
The Signal reporter Taylor Clinton.
Everything went dark. When the light returned, I realized my car was moving. Confused, I tried to break. It was no use. The car continued forward. Dust flew, blinding me from my final destination.
As I heard the screams of my precious passengers, my adrenaline raced. The car finally stopped. When the dust cleared, I found my front bumper inches away from a light pole. The other driver continued driving, as if he were oblivious to what just happened.
My son and youngest sister were covered in shards of glass from my rear window that no longer existed. My other sister in the passenger seat cried and looked to me for help. Without hesitation, I removed all three of them from the vehicle. I dialed 9-1-1 as the other driver continued driving away.
A witness stopped to help. He told me he had been on the phone with police trying to get someone to stop the driver who had caused the collision. The witness said the man had been swerving for at least two miles.
The other driver must have grown a conscience or come to a realization that others had an eyewitness account of what had happened. He eventually turned around and returned to the accident. He asked if everyone was okay and said, “sorry, I was texting.”
As my anger mounted sirens of help wailed. Texting… that is your excuse?
Rep. Tom Craddick – Midland filed House Bill 243, Nov. 20, 2010.
House Bill 243 was intended to make text-based communication, including text messages, instant messages and email from any wireless device illegal while driving in the state of Texas.
The bill was to take effect Sept. 1, 2011.
On June 17, 2011, three months before the bill was to take effect, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill.
Perry released multiple statements contributing the use of wireless communications while driving as an educational issue more than a law enforcement issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website states that in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Along with the NHTSA, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the Federal Communications Commission and many other national organizations have statistical data clearly stating the dangers of texting while driving. The information is readily accessible on many search engines.
How much more education do we need?
As of February 2013, 34 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands banned text messaging for all drivers, and all but four have primary enforcement.
If law enforcement wouldn’t render a sufficient reason for drivers to cease wireless text-based communications, why have the majority of states and U.S. territories taken action against distracted driving?
If passed, this act will prohibit the use of wireless communication devices, including hands-free devices which use voice technology, and the traditional hands-on devices to send text-based communications while driving.
I was lucky to receive only minor injuries from my accident. My sisters and son could have been taken away from me in seconds – not because of my actions-but because of someone wanting to send a text message.
This Texas legislative session holds great potential to save lives.
Sept. 1, 2013, Texas drivers could be a little less distracted if the Alex Brown Memorial Act takes effect.
If you want to stop the trend of texting and driving send your state legislature a message. If you have to send that message via cell phone, please pull over first. There is no message worth you severely hurting someone else or yourself.