Although I continue to read articles about car crashes caused by texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, I am cheered this morning by other articles that tell me the fight against distracted driving has become a grassroots movement around the country.
Earlier this week, for example, the town of Daphne, Alabama, banned texting behind the wheel. That ban was set in motion by a local man who started a foundation, "Alive at 25," after the death of a Daphne teen at the hands of a distracted driver.
But, the groundswell in Daphne did not end there. The final push to pass the ordinance came from Jasmine Lee, Alabama's "Junior Teen Queen," who testified before the City Council in August, asking that Daphne ban texting.
"There have been deaths in Daphne and other towns nearby from texting behind the wheel. I know some of my friends text and drive, and I’ve even been in the car while this was happening. I ask them to please stop. I wanted to protect teens and adults. It’s just as dangerous as driving drunk, and that’s a very scary thought. So I went to the City Council."
Did I mention that Jasmine is only 15 years old, not even old enough to drive? What a terrific example of safety and civic leadership she is setting for her peers.
It's not just teens either. In Bethel, Maine, local ambulance drivers and other emergency responders are organizing a workshop to help high school students understand the dangers of distraction. That session will feature survivors of car crashes talking to students about the lasting effects of 100 percent preventable crashes.
And at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School last week, peer counselors performed skits and local crash survivors testified about their experiences.
``Life is hard now,'' said Alex Lutin, who was hit by another vehicle while riding his motorcycle, and was run over by three other automobiles. The accident left him confined to a wheelchair. ``Take a second and think about what could happen before you do things,'' Lutin said.
The outcome? Hundreds of students signed pledges not to drive while distracted.
That is good news.