Distracted Driving Presentation
By Katie Lehan
On Wednesday, May 7, speakers Mark Romito and Aimee Eckert visited Seton to give a talk on the dangers of texting and driving entitled “From One Second to the Next.” Romito, from AT&T was the first speaker. He talked about the “It Can Wait” campaign that many people see in the commercials phone companies like Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T present. Romito also talked about what each individual can do to support the fight against texting and driving. It included steps like taking the pledge to never text and drive (and keep the pledge), speaking up when you are in the car with a driver that is texting, be an advocate of the campaign, and taking precautions to ensure that you will not text and drive even if the urge strikes. This can be done by downloading the Drive Mode App which, when activated, blocks off recognition of text messages/phone calls and sends a text to those senders and callers informing them that you are busy driving at that moment.
The second speaker was Aimee Eckert, a woman who was hit by another woman who was texting and driving in April of 2011. Eckert tells her story about how she was driving on a two lane back road with her friend and her friend’s four year-old daughter, when a woman who was texting and going 75 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone crashed into her car head on on Eckert’s side. By the time the ambulance arrived thirty minutes later, the friend’s daughter only had seatbelt bruising and the friend had some minor injuries, but Eckert had already lost most of the blood in her body and she had to be revived three times on the way to the hospital. She went on to say that she spent five months in the hospital, two weeks of which she was in a medically induced coma, receiving approximately seventeen surgeries. When she woke up from the coma, she found out that she had lost the baby boy that she was six months pregnant with as a result of the accident and that she would never be able to have children again. Eckert continued her presentation with pictures of her injuries and talking about the immense amount of pain she was in for those five months, physically, mentally and emotionally. She was not able to move herself or use the restroom by herself and her once independent lifestyle had changed to one of complete dependence on others. After released from the hospital, Eckert spent two years in a wheel chair or on crutches because of her mobility issues and later into her presentation, she gave more specific details about her injuries and the amputation of her left leg.
Following the talk, there was a texting and driving simulation set up outside the cafeteria where students could see the reality of how hard and dangerous it is to text while driving. Kristen Lehan, a freshman who tried out the simulation said, “The simulation was a very real interpretation of how difficult it is to try to multi-task while driving. Trying to pay attention to the road and your phone at the same time is putting not only yourself in danger, but also the people around you in danger, which is selfish and completely avoidable.” McKenzie Fromeyer commented on the talk as a whole and said, “I thought that the talk was very effective. The speakers made me realize how important it is to pay attention on the road in order to keep myself safe and the people around me safe, also.” Both Romito and Eckert gave compelling talks about the dangers of distracted driving, proving that no text is worth a life.
Photo credit to Christy Schutte*