When Jamie Lynn Crandall became Miss Utah USA last October, she immediately set her sights on getting the title of Miss USA 2011. But that hasn’t been her only focus. She has dedicated her reign to educating others about the dangers of distracted driving.
In 2007, Jamie lost her good friend, 17-year-old Lauren Mulkey, to a driver who was texting behind the wheel:
"Lauren had just taken me home, and she was at an intersection nearby with a green light. Another car entered the intersection from her left. The driver had a red light for six seconds, but he was texting at the wheel and didn't see it. He wasn't even injured."
Lauren’s mother, Linda Mulkey, founded “Hang up, Save a Life” to raise awareness about America's distracted driving epidemic. "I started helping her immediately, even before the pageants," says Jamie.
"I tell them that, if they text and drive, their lives could change forever in a split second. It was so hard for me to get that phone call in the morning after I had just been with Lauren hours before. It’s really sad; I still have her green East High track team sweater that I had been wearing that night. “
Jamie also worked to get a bill passed by the Utah State Legislature against texting and driving. That law, one of the first in the U.S., became effective in 2009.
Since October, Jamie has used her title as Miss Utah USA to continue spreading her important safety message. In June, she brought Lauren’s East High sweater with her to the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas for comfort. Although Jamie didn’t walk away with the crown, we at DOT know she’s a winner, and we thank her for her valuable service.