Jamie Nash was in a terrible car accident in June of 2010. The North Texan woman was driving at night through rural Ellis County when she sent a text from her cell phone. In a moment of distraction, she lost control of her PT Cruiser and the car flipped over to hit a tree. When the PT Cruiser irrupted, Nash suffered from severe burns. In the end 70% of her body was burnt in the crash.
She’s dealt with painful treatments and a long rehabilitation. The disabled mother is now working hard to ensure that others don’t make the same mistake that she did. In Dallas she stopped at Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) to share her ordeal with impressionable tenth graders. The teens are beginning to get their drivers’ licenses and are one of the most at-risk age groups for texting-and-driving.
Recent statistics say that people who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident. The number of accidents that occur while people are talking on cell phones (with or without a hands-off device) and texting on cell phones is truly devastating. More and more national organizations are stepping up to the plate and trying to combat this problem. Texting-while-driving is on its way to becoming on par with drunk-driving in terms of public awareness campaigns.
AT&T is working hard to make texting while driving looked down upon from a social perspective. The corporation is also striving to come up with technical solutions to the problem. Their new app “DriveMode” is designed to send an automatic text message to anyone who e-mails or texts the AT&T user while he or she is driving. Right now the app is available for Blackberry only, but if the app is successful there may be several more popping up.
There have also been discussions among car manufacturers who create cars with built-in GPS or cell-phone capabilities. Technology that prevents a GPS or phone feature from being used/adjusted while the car is in motion has been discussed. A driver would only be able to make changes while stopped in “Park” gear. All this is an effort to cut down on the number of distractions on the road.