While much attention is normally given to texting while driving -- which is illegal in Tennessee -- many who have lost loved ones in accidents where someone involved was talking on a cellphone, are pushing for changes to be made. For some parents, the goal is to elevate the risks associated with not only texting, but also talking while driving.
When looking at distracted driving from a statewide standpoint, in Tennessee the problem seems to be getting worse. In fact, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety, there were 653 crashes in 2008 where a cellphone was somehow being used. In 2009 the number of crashes involving cellphone use increased to 894, and in 2010 the final number was at 918.
Nationwide, the last statistics available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, show that distracted driving was involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2009.
But what exactly can be done to get the message across?
Of course for many the hope is that the recent National Transportation Safety Board recommendations to ban all cellphone use while driving will be passed, but for one couple, they also hope that by continuing to share their personal story of loss, the message will reach more drivers.
It was back in October 2009 when their 23-year-old son was killed in a car accident. He was driving a BMW when he was hit head-on by a teenager behind the wheel of a Jeep. That 19-year-old, who broke her back in the accident, had swerved on Interstate 40 when a friend called her cellphone.
Sadly, their story is just one of many, and the hope is that as the message spreads, more drivers will realize that sending off a quick text message, or picking up their cellphone while driving, is not worth their life, or the life of someone else.