Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Red Ribbon Week: Teaching Non-Driving Students About Distracted Driving

As a middle school teacher, I discovered that it is difficult for non-driving students to grasp the important role they play in the safe driving equation. My solution comes from information and logos provided on the website. After sharing any of the many videos available online, give your wee ones this take home to share with their parents, driving-aged friends, and family.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Woman is an Inspiration

Jamie Nash re-tells her story of surviving an accident she was in because she was texting and driving. The actual audio of her rescue from the police officer's radio is chilling. However, her words are inspiring.

Friday, July 6, 2012

DART Bus Driver Slams into Stalled Traffic

Wake up Texas! The bus driver that slammed into stalled traffic is on PAID administrative leave while his victim is still recovering in the hospital. We are BEYOND the need for legislation to hold drivers accountable whose distraction driving leads to injury and death!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July...Don't let this be your last celebration...

When I first graduated from UNT, I worked at my hometown newspaper as an intern for the summer. I was thrilled to be writing everyday about anything and everything. However, I dreaded the weekends because, as the lowest man on the totem pole, I had the police beat. That was the summer I really learned the power of prayer. I would hit the ground each Friday praying and praying that nothing bad would happen on my watch because I really didn't know how I would handle it, much less report on it. For the most part, it was a very quiet summer.

As I have aged, my scope has widened. Now with each holiday that comes, I pray and pray and pray that the news will not have a tragedy to report each holiday weekend. Fourth of July is a big one for me. It seems to never fail that a life is tragically lost on Lake Lewisville, yet people continue to flock to the water as if a siren calls them to it.

I was thinking this morning, that I have spent the better part of a couple of decades praying for tragedies to take a holiday like the rest of there is some gang of trouble makers going out to wreck havoc for their you-know-whats and giggles.

We are the havoc! Our choices are no one's but our own. If you choose to drink and drive, you choose to take your own life and/or the lives of others. If you choose to let your cellular device distract you from driving your automobile safely, you choose to take your own life and/or the lives of others. Every time you choose to make an unwise decision, you choose to risk this being your last celebration. Sometimes, you are making a choice for someone else.

Because he chose to let distractions take his attention from the road, a 51-year-old tractor trailer driver from Oklahoma stole our beloved Gayla from us. Our hearts will always be broken because this is a tragedy that could have been prevented. Accident or not, that man chose to be distracted. He will forever have to live with his choice and so will we.

Make wise choices everyday. Live to celebrate all life has to give. Be well and be safe, friends. Happy 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cool Mom Tech--Curb Your Distracted Driving

Ideally, we should make a commitment to a zero-distraction zone in our automobiles. However, just like yesterday when my co-worker was calling and texting me over and over, there are times where we have to let people know we are driving and cannot communicate with them at that moment. I follow a Blog called Cool Mom Tech who sends me a tech savvy e-mail each morning. This morning, they shared the following fun and helpful fact about iPhones:

"Text and Email: Go to Settings > General > Keyboard and create shortcuts for yourself so you'll never have to type that same phrase over and over again. Just type the phrase and then enter the shortcut. The next time you type the shortcut, the previously-entered phrase will be typed out for you."

I tried it out attaching the following Text to the short cut "qw" (first two letters on the keyboard; easily accessed from a red light stop): "I'm driving. I'll call you when I'm stopped. This is a short cut that I set up in the settings so I wouldn't have to text and drive. DRIVE DISTRACTION FREE!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Texas Speed Limit Increase...Dieing to Get There!

"Uh...Jaimee, why is everyone passing us like we are sitting still?" questioned my 15-year-old from the passenger side of my car. "I mean, I know you drive slow (stink eye given), I mean the speed limit, but this is ridiculous!"

I looked around and was flabbergasted...Holy! Moly! I was stunned to see the speed limit on Interstate 30 between Greenville and Texarkana had increased to 75 m.p.h. The shock continued that the night time speed limit sign of 65 m.p.h. was gone as well. I was scared stiff watching Tractor Trailers speeding by me at sometimes more than 75 m.p.h.

Hubby Dearest's response to my concern was laughter. It really had been a long time since I adventured out on my own. Since my sister's death in March 2011, the panic attacks and uneasiness behind the wheel have kept me to only making treks to and from work with an occasional visit with near-by friends. This would be the first time for me to be "on-my-own" in more than a year. I was forcing myself to start living again, which is ironic because it seemed the likelihood of being killed in a car accident had just increased. It made me want to dart back into my hole and hide some more.

According to a story from August 2011, which I found on the Huntsville Item, "In Texas, speed limits are set by a method known as the 85th percentile, which considers the speed the majority of drivers are traveling."

So for all of you, like me, whose mothers used to say, "If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you join them?" I guess the answer is "YES" if you live in Texas because, apparently, out of 100 drivers, 85 or more of them always drive more than 70 m.p.h. on Texas highways.

TxDOT Traffic Operations Division Director Carol Rawson said, on NewsTalk 1290 back in January, "Posting new speed limits on 1,500 miles of interstate highway is a major milestone in implementing the new law. Texas’ economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods. These new speed limits increase highway efficiency while maintaining the safety of the transportation system.” Ummm...economic You can't get money out of dead people, Texas!
With a little more research today (Thank You, Star-Telegram), I also found out "... Texas is famous (safety advocates might say infamous) for its 80-mph limit on 521 miles of I-10 and I-20 in far West Texas." Are you kidding!!!!!! No way, thank you very much!

Read more here:

The conspiracy theorist that I keep hidden in my bonnet most of the time says this is the petroleum industry's way of selling more gas. I was averaging 30.3 m.p.g. in my Altima at the time I spotted the speed limit change. I tried out the new speed limit for about an hour of white knuckle anxiety and the mileage dropped to 28.6 m.p.g. Ha! I slowed back down to 70 and used financial excuses to put off my daughter's huffing complaints.

All joking aside, Texas is leading the country in distracted driving deaths and injuries. And, yes, Darling Daughter counted and pointed out which speeding bullets were zooming past us where the driver was distracted by a cellular device (not counting wrangling kiddos, dashboard dining or playing with your controls). Out of 100 cars...65. Twenty more percent and maybe we will pass a law okaying distracted driving! I think I will investigate telecommuting soon!