Learn to Drive | U.S. DOT Campaign: "The Faces of Distracted Driving"
The U.S. Department of Transportation released new information on distracted driving, saying it killed nearly 5,500 people in 2009. Another 500,000 people were injured.
Teens not fully experienced in how to drive a car are the most vulnerable since they have not developed the necessary experience and maturity when driving a car. Teens need to learn how to drive a car safely before getting an unrestricted drivers license. These campaigns are part of a growing concern about the need for teens to learn to drive in a safe and responsible manner.
A southern Colorado family that has been impacted by distracted driving said this is an eye-opening campaign.
"They're families torn apart by senseless, preventable crashes."
"No message or call is worth the risk," U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said in the campaign video.
The campaign is officially called the Faces of Distracted Driving. The online effort uses everyday people who have lost their parents, kids and friends at the hands of a distracted driver.
"They're families torn apart by senseless, preventable crashes," LaHood continued to say in the video.
In February, a head-on crash in Mount Carmel, Tennessee killed a woman who had family living in southern Colorado. The driver that caused the wreck was reportedly on her phone when she crossed the median, and killed 49-year-old Patricia Menzel.
"I could not believe the destruction of the accident," Menzel's half brother Robin Jones, of Security, said. "It was terrible."
Jones and Menzel spent 40 years not knowing each other existed. They finally connected with each other on line, just months before the accident. "We were talking back and forth on Facebook," Jones said.
But, the messages suddenly stopped, Jones said he knew something was wrong. "I was starting to get real nervous, so then I actually went over to her Facebook profile page and seen a post on there that Patty was killed in a car accident," he said.
The news of this crash devastated Jones and his wife, much in the way it did for the parents, children and other loved ones in the DOT's campaign.
The department is hoping the faces and the stories will force drivers to pay attention.
"The saddest thing about [Menzel's accident] is that now I know, because of someone's careless driving, talking on the phone, that we will never meet in person," Jones said.