A recent tragedy, which has rocked the small town of Harrisonville, Missouri, is a stark reminder of the dangers of texting and driving.
MSNewsNow reported that Missouri teen Savannah Nash was killed in an accident involving a semi truck on May 16. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, she was texting at the time of the crash. Police found a long text, unsent, on her phone at the scene.
Nash had just turned 16 a week prior to the fatal accident and had only had her intermediate driver’s license a few days. (Missouri is one state that uses a graduated licensing program. Nash’s license, one step above a learner’s permit, allowed her to drive with certain restrictions.) This was her first drive alone: she was going to the grocery store to pick up a few things for her family.
The accident happened not far from Nash’s house. According to police, the crash occurred at Highway 7 and Walker Road. Missouri’s crash log reports that Savannah failed to yield the right of way at this intersection. She drove in front of an oncoming semi, which could not avoid her car. The driver of the semi was unhurt.
Nash’s family, classmates, teachers, and others who knew her are understandably devastated. The school held a memorial in her honor, which was attended by approximately 300.
Harrisonville high school student Matthew Stanwix called the accident “a rude awakening.”
This accident is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved, perhaps most of all because it could have been avoided.
The risk of an accident jumps dramatically when a driver texts behind the wheel: an accident becomes approximately 23 times more likely, according to a study cited by Distraction.gov.
If you have kids, make sure to tell them about the consequences of texting and driving—not only for themselves, but for others as well. And it is crucial that you back up this message with your own behavior: set a good example by putting down your phone when driving. Teens who see their parents engaging in risky driving behaviors are more likely to do so themselves, according to a study discussed in one of our earlier blog posts.
We remind everyone not to text and drive and hope that you have a safe summer.