It never gets easier for Judy Teater--even after almost seven years.
“Our lives will never be the same since losing Joe,” she says. “We loved him so much, and we still miss him every day."
I first met Judy at the 2009 Distracted Driving Summit. And the story she shared--about the son she adored and the crash that took his life--has stuck with me ever since. Now, I'd like to share it with you in the latest video from our "Faces of Distracted Driving" series.
Judy and Joe were on their way to one of his after school activities on the day of the crash. They were just a mile from their home when a young woman driving a Hummer and talking on her cell phone ran a red light and slammed into their vehicle.
Judy was fortunate to escape with only minor injuries. But Joe wasn't as lucky. His side of the car took the brunt of the impact, and he died the next day at the hospital.
The loss stunned the Teater family--especially when they discovered that the driver who struck them was on the phone at the time of the crash.
"She passed six cars and a school bus that were stopped for the red light, and she did not see them," Judy said. "She was talking and looking straight ahead and didn't see the cars passing in front of her."
Since the accident, Judy and her husband Dave have devoted themselves to ending distracted driving. Judy is a founding member of FocusDriven, while Dave works with the National Safety Council to reduce teen driving deaths. And they have a straightforward message:
"Everybody on the road owes it to everybody else on the road not to be picking up their phone--not talking, not texting."
"Every distracted driving incident could have been prevented."