After the Accident: Living with results of a texting teen driver

Posted on February 28, 2013 by

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Allie Herkenroder
Guest writer

On April 24, sirens were heard through the quiet landscape of Nappanee. Two cars collided head-on near SR 19. First responders rushed to the scene. They found a teenage boy and a severely injured middle aged woman. They rushed both to the hospital. The woman was in extreme pain and was later given pain shots in her back for her injuries. The boy was relatively fine and released soon after his arrival at the hospital. A few months later, the woman went to her doctor for more pain shots. Tragically, these shots were contaminated with fungal meningitis. She could no longer walk without support, could never be left alone, and was weak. She could not see her daughter perform in Concord’s Marching Band, and couldn’t watch her son play flag football at the Intermediate school. She almost died.

The investigation of the accident later proved that the teenage boy was at fault. He was passing a semi-truck in a no passing zone. And he was texting while doing it.

The daughter of the woman is a sophomore at Concord High School. Her name is Sydney Shuff. I wanted to hear what Sydney had to say about texting while driving because of her near loss.

“I don’t understand why he [the teenage driver] wasn’t in more trouble,” Shuff said. “He was only fined $200 and could’ve killed my mom.” Punishment for texting and driving should be a fine and perhaps points against their license, Justin Ramsey (12) said.

Shuff disagrees, “Texting while driving can take a life. That’s murder. A fine isn’t enough.”

CBS New York claimed that teens pick-up their distracted driving habits, like texting, by watching their parents. Chris White (10) said this isn’t true. “Adults text way more when driving than teens do. It’s because the adults have been on the road longer and are more comfortable while driving than teens.”

Ashley Halsey of the Washington Post says teens believe that adult drivers text “all the time.”

Shuff says that she agrees and disagrees with these findings. “Teens are so young that they watch and do what their parents do. If their parents text, the teens think it’s ok, despite the warnings from police officers and teachers. On the other hand, teens are so stubborn that they think they can do whatever and texting won’t affect them. They don’t understand how it affects others, like my mom.”

A study from the Pew Research Center claims that 26% of American teen drivers have texted behind the wheel; 48% of teens 12-17 say they have been a passenger in a car where the driver was distracted by texting. These overwhelming statistics show how much this generation needs to feel plugged-in.

“Teens are so much more attached to their phones than adults which is why there are so many texting and driving accidents,” Shuff said

According to KeepTheDrive.com distracted driving is the number 1 killer of teens. This stat is astounding, but distracted driving can kill others too. Teens don’t understand that one choice can change someone’s life forever.

Shuff wishes that there was a type of class that would show the whole picture of texting and driving. One that would show what happens after the accident, to everyone involved.

“I wish that he would feel the pain and struggle that my family has dealt with this past year. He should feel what we have,” Shuff said. “My mom will never be the same because of his mistake.”

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Posted in: Student Life