Ashley Johnson wanted to help people. And by the age of 16, she was already taking college courses and planning to become a psychologist. She was a smart girl and a caring girl. And when you watch her father, Amos, talk about her, you can really see how much Ashley was loved and how proud she made him.
Watching Amos Johnson’s story is not easy. Since his daughter Ashley was killed while trying to drive and retrieve a text at the same time, his life has never been the same.
What’s even more tragic is that Amos did everything right. He says:
"When we started driving, I was telling her the laws--what to do, what not to do--and the cell phone was one of the biggest things. I told her, 'We do not talk on the cell phone while driving.' We talked about it quite a bit."
It goes to show what we’re up against in our fight to end distracted driving. The allure of multitasking and staying connected is coupled with the illusion that we’re capable of doing those things while driving. But we aren’t. And Ashley’s story shows that.
"It was unreal. I didn't believe it because, over the months and years before, we talked about cell phone use while driving. I didn't think she would do it."
But Amos has used his personal tragedy to create change. Within three months of Ashley's death, he was sharing his story with teenagers--and parents--in the Asheville, NC, community. And four months after Ashley's death, Amos attended our second National Distracted Driving Summit where he continued to warn parents about the dangers distracted driving poses to their kids:
"These kids see their parents using cell phones, and they think it's okay. But it's not okay. You cannot text and drive. Ashley is evidence of that. You cannot do both."
If you have a distracted driving experience you'd like to share, post a video on YouTube and email a link to email@example.com.