Archives For Driving While Texting

National campaign strives to change driving behavior, save lives
BOSTON — It’s estimated that distracted driving injures 400,000 people every year and kills thousands.

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On this week’s Boston Strong, a local woman whose father was killed by a distracted driver has made it her mission to put an end to what she calls selfish and sometimes fatal choices behind the wheel.

The public service announcement is stunning, bringing victims of both sides of distracted driving together.

It begins with the voice of Kate McGuire. At 17 she killed a man when she was distracted by a GPS and veered into the breakdown lane.

“I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t using my cellphone, but I killed someone,” said McGuire in the PSA.

Howard Stein, 62, was checking a load of materials in his truck when McGuire struck and killed him. He was a father, husband and soon to be grandfather. His daughter, Emily, also appears in the PSA.

“I was six months pregnant when my dad died. He was going to be fantastic grandfather,” Stein said in the PSA.

It’s an unlikely alliance in an effort to save lives.

“That’s what caused my dad’s death. That’s what changed my life forever. It was something so silly and so simply and unnecessary,” said Stein.

At Medford High School, Stein shared her story as part of a National End Distracted Driving campaign, which produced the PSA. The organization is spear-headed by Joel Feldman, who lost his daughter Casey in 2009.

“A man went to reach for his GPS. My daughter was in the crosswalk. He took his eyes off the road and hit her, and she died shortly thereafter,” Feldman told the students in the audience.

“I can’t bring my daughter back. But the next best thing I can do is keep you guys safe,” Feldman told the students.

Feldman said staying safe means better laws, better enforcement and education to help change driving behavior.

“Today drunk driving isn’t acceptable. And I can see a future where distracted driving is no longer acceptable,” said Feldman.

He said statistics show that just keeping the cellphone out of reach isn’t enough.

“About half of distracted driving accidents are caused by other things, like reaching, applying makeup, and dropping objects,” he said.

“It can wait. It’s not worth it. It’s a selfish decision to put someone at risk. Just picture the most important person in your life and what would your life be with them,” said Stein.

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