Sunday, May 8, 2016

Is your cell phone worth the price of a life?

This is not my usual blog post.  But since a lot of people follow and regularly read this blog, today I'm going to use it as a different sort of forum to get your attention. 
This is (or I should say, this WAS) the car my husband was driving today (I was in passenger seat) on our way to visit our son in Boston for Mother's Day.  We didn't make it quite to Boston.  We were three hours from home, and a little more than an hour from Boston when this happened.
That's my husband, above, saying a last goodbye to the beloved car the he taught our son to drive on. The car that my son took to college, and then to Boston, where he currently lives and works.  The car that hauled an upright bass back and forth to school for rehearsals and concerts, and when our son was in college and after, amps and instruments to band gigs.  The car that carried hiking equipment for scout outings, groceries, and so much more over the years. 
The car had temporarily come home to reside with us this winter.  Last week, we had some work done on it since it was going to be going back to Boston with our son later this spring.  We decided to drive it today to see how nicely it was running.  We were in the right lane, anticipating the rest stop a few miles away, when this  happened. 
On the rainy Mass Pike (Massachusetts Turnpike, for those of you unfamiliar), shortly before noon today, a 21 year old gal evidently decided it was important enough to be looking down at her cell phone while she was driving.  When she "looked up" (her words to the police; not mine!) she had already crossed from the middle lane alongside us into the front of our car, sending us spinning and smashing into the guard rail, twirling around, and ultimately facing the wrong direction in the opposite lane, in traffic.  We are lucky to be alive.  My husband has remarked that I was bouncing  all over the place when the accident was ongoing.  Luckily we both had seat belts on, and were driving the speed limit.   When the car came to rest, at first I could not find my glasses; they had somehow flown off my face and landed in the back seat.  When we got out of the car (miraculously our doors were fine), I couldn't remember how to use my cell phone to call 911.  My hands couldn't stop shaking.  I'm now feeling a bit twisted up and have a few bumps and bruises but thankfully our son hasn't lost both his parents due to someone else's idiocy.
As we stood on the side of the road, in the rain, with the man who had been behind us and luckily was able to maneuver his car so that he wasn't involved, waiting for the police and tow truck, traffic continued to zip by over the broken glass.  (We were out there in the rain for about an hour; traffic was backed up and as a result police and tow truck took a while to arrive.)  It amazes me to have to tell you that in many, many of those cars driving by, the drivers were leaning out their windows, hands holding their phones instead of their steering wheels, eyes on us and not on the road, as they shot videos of us and the car.  The tow truck driver told us that he had picked up one wrecked car last week where the people had died.  The accident had again been caused by someone on a cell phone.
Our car wasn't new but it was safe and trusty.  It was totaled.  Our son and girlfriend immediately drove from Boston to us in her car.  Nearby rental car agencies had all closed at noon.  We had to travel about 20 minutes to get to the nearest open rental car agency, where we picked up a car and drove back home.  We left home at 9am, and we got finally home after 9pm.  Tomorrow we have to drive an hour away, in two cars, to return the rental car (there's no agency nearby) and then return home.  On Monday I will go to the chiropractor and see if he can make me feel better.    We should have been having a lovely afternoon and dinner and evening with our son and his girlfriend, and a peaceful drive home tomorrow.

I'm thankful to be alive, but I'm angry.  There is absolutely NO GOOD REASON to be looking at that cell phone while driving.  The girl who hit us told police she was on the phone but wasn't texting, but since she admitted she'd been looking down, we (and the police) were quite certain she was either texting, or perhaps on Facebook or Instagram.  By the way, her car also had to be towed.

Please please please - spread this message around.  I want to be alive.  I want my son to have parents.  And I don't want anyone else to have to go through this.  PUT DOWN THE PHONE WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING.  It can wait. 

18 comments:

  1. I hope she received a hefty fine. It the accident didn't make that girl wake up; hopefully a fine will hit her where it hurts and get her to lay down her phone.

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    1. I don't know her legal outcome, but I do know she also had to be towed, with a crunched bumper and flat tire.. I do hope it woke her up!

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  2. I am so sorry! But glad you were able to walk away. It makes me sick to see the amount of people on their phones as they are speeding down the highway! Scary.

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    1. They are not thinking beyond themselves. It's as bad as an alcoholic who can't stop driningro drive the car safely.

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  3. What a dreadful experience! So glad you are both alive and safe!Now that I am retired and driving more, I see this ALL the time. My brother and I have had this conversation about people who drive and text (or use their phone while driving). I would like to see carmakers come up with a device that would limit the ability to use phones in this way when they are in a car!!

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    1. I agree. Th new technologies in phones have grown so fast that safety precautions haven't kept up with the impact of this technology.

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  4. Glad you are both okay Phyl! I'm sorry you have had to go through such an ordeal.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Glad it's over!

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  5. What an awful experience. I am so happy you and your husband our alive and well. God is Good. I wish ALL would get it through their head that TEXTING & DRIVING......is a great big NO........

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  6. OH man...so so frightening. So glad you are all ok. Good luck with getting everything back to normal. Stay safe. It's an awful feeling to do the right thing when others don't. I hope someone can stop it.

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    1. Thanks. It's very scary, knowing that things that might happen to you are totally out of your control.

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  7. So glad you were able to write this post!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I felt like it had to be said!

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  8. Phyl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh!!!!!!!! I am so glad that you are okay. What an awful thing to happen, especially since it was completely preventable. Wow.

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    1. Thank you! We are well, and very thankful. But every day I see people on their phones while driving. I wish they could get the message without some awful consequence!

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  9. I am sorry that you and your husband were in that accident and I think it's great that you take this opportunity to raise awareness to the problem of texting or simple use of a cell phone while driving. The good thing is you are both alive. Thank you for this important article!

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    1. Thanks for your comment. If it stops even one person from doing something dangerous, that's a good thing!

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