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Teenage driving and cell phone tragedy July 16, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Work and Life and Love.
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Stuff like this breaks my heart, and also feeds my anxiety.  I truly hate these tales.

But I’m posting it as a service to the 5 readers of my moron blog – some of whom have kids driving now.

Five recent high school graduates perish in a head on collision, authorities suspect cell phone text messaging may have contributed to the crash.

17 year old Bailey Goodman had just passed another vehicle on a two lane road when her SUV swerved into an oncoming tractor-trailer.  Her vehicle crossed left into the oncoming lane.  Authorities were able to determine that her cell phone had been in use receiving a text message less than one minute before the crash. 

They don’t know, and can’t know, if Bailey was the one using the phone.  They will never know.  And we don’t know and will never know if it contributed to the accident or not.

Drugs and alcohol were not involved.

 

The year my oldest kid started driving, a sixteen year old boy perished in a fiery crash on a two lane road, out in the country.  I was nearby, at a friend’s house.  We heard the speed, and the loss of control, and the crash.  By the time we got there, maybe 3 minutes, the car was 10 feet off the ground, in trees by the roadside, and engulfed in flames.  We couldn’t help him.  He probably died in the collision, the highway cop estimated his speed at around 85 based on how high up the car landed when he lost control.

He was driving home from work, and had just that week gotten his drivers license.

Later came the shrine.  The little cross, the pictures, some of his toys from when he was a little guy.  Broken-hearted memories from broken-hearted people.

So I took my kid there, and I told her the story, and I made her look at this stuff.  She was speechless, and began to cry.  I felt awful about it, but I needed her to “get it”.  To pay attention to something besides her old man blathering about “be careful”.

I looked into her eyes, and wiped some tears away, and I told her “He died because he was careless.  He thought he was bullet-proof and invisible, and he ran this thing up to 80, and he died”.

“Don’t do this.  Don’t talk on the phone, don’t jack with the radio, don’t drive like a lunatic”.

You can’t drive for them.  One day you have to let them go.  Use whatever lesson you have to, to teach them that they are one second away from unbearable grief if they do something dumb behind the wheel.  Make them face it.  You have to.

It’s pretty much all we can do.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Bailey’s family and her friends, and the loved ones of those who perished with her.  Unbearable heartache.

via Drudge

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Comments»

1. skinbad - July 16, 2007

Yep. The technology is irrelevant. A couple of my high school friends almost died because the driver went fishing on the floor for a cassette that dropped. They rolled a few times and got hurt. Keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. I’m 2 years away from a driver. I’m going to do my best to scare him.

2. cranky - July 16, 2007

A few years ago I got to watch an 80-year old veteran die in front of me because a couple of kids thought doing 90 in a 40 was okay. It was okay right up until they broadsided him.

I could not get his doors open because the impact crumpled the car so badly. The impact propelled his oxygen bottle through the floor board. He died because of their stupidity.

3. geoff - July 16, 2007

Last fall I was trying to plug my cell phone in, but the recharge light wasn’t coming on, so I started fiddling with the adapter in the cigarette lighter, which is near the floor. My attention thus divided, I promptly drove up on a curb and destroyed a tire.

Pretty minor, given what could have happened – I had 3 kids in the car. I’ve always been lucky that life’s wakeup calls have been so forgiving.

4. Michael - July 16, 2007

When my kids were new drivers we lived in Maryland, with lots of dark twisty two-lane country roads. Seemed like every month there was a prayer in church for kids who had died in a crash. Hated that.

5. daveintexas - July 16, 2007

I know.

Goddammit. It just breaks your heart.

6. nicedeb - July 16, 2007

We are going on a road trip in a couple of days, and will have to take 2 cars because grandma and grandpa, (visiting from Tucson) will be coming with us.

My son will be driving the other car. He’s a pretty safe driver, but he’s getting the lecture.

These stories are heart rending.

7. ted - July 18, 2007

God, it was so awful!!!! But it’s not only the cell phone! It’s the message that can be upsetting. How about a message about the mother-in-law coming for a visit or Billy’s teacher wants a meeting or there is a strage smell coming from the cellar?
Scary stuff!
Ted

8. daveintexas - July 18, 2007

huh?

9. Pupster - July 18, 2007

Just keep those hands at 3 and 9 o’clock on the blog steering wheel Dave.


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