Week(end) In Review – I’m Furious!

Meditations in Motion

Alright, Dear Reader, get ready for a rant and a lecture. I can just hear the sound of readers clicking off this page right now! I know I don’t usually post on a Sunday afternoon, but I could not let this pass. My anger began yesterday during a bus trip sponsored by my hubby’s office.

Bill works for an architect. His firm hired a coach bus to take employees on a tour of a retirement village they worked on near Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, on Philadelphia’s Main Line. They generously opened up the trip to include spouses and, after the tour was over, took us all into Philadelphia for the day. Dinner at the Independence Beer Garden near the Independence Mall, where the Liberty Bell is located, was on the office’s tab. Nothing to be angry about so far.

Meditations in Motion

The reason for my anger occurred while we were on the bus traveling into downtown Philly. We were on the Schuylkill Expressway (called the Sure-kill by locals). The Schuylkill consistently ranks as one of the most congested and dangerous highways in the nation. Traffic, as is typical on the Schuylkill, alternated between speeding along at 55 miles per hour and crawling, often with little or no warning. The side of the highway is littered with car parts left over from the numerous accidents that occur there.

As the bus driver navigated the expressway, I was staring idly out the bus window. I happened to look down, into a car passing the bus. The driver was, incredibly, scrolling on her cell phone. Then another car passed us whose driver was looking at his cell phone. Then another. My temperature went up each time a distracted driver passed us until my blood was boiling and steam was coming out of my ears!

Meditations in Motion

Fully one-third of drivers in all the cars who passed us as we traveled this very treacherous highway were in the act of using their cell phones or tablets. One third!!! That is nothing short of ridiculous! I was fuming to my poor hubby almost the entire drive.

As a runner, there have been several times when a distracted driver has veered towards me, running me off the road. I once saw a young woman driver come within inches of a running friend while talking on her cell phone. He angrily yelled, “Hang up and drive!!!

Meditations in Motion

Let me tell you the story of Jacy Good, one of my former students. I had the privilege of teaching Jacy and her brother Jared when they were in high school. Jacy and Jared were bright, beautiful, funny, very kind, and they definitely marched to the beat of their own drummers. They were popular kids, despite their independent natures, probably because they were just so amiable and warmhearted.

Jacy won the science fair, of which I was the director, and was a member of the Quiz Bowl team I coached, so I got to know her well. I predicted early on in our relationship that Jacy would go far in life. I had no idea how far.

She went to a college about 90 minutes away from home and graduated with honors in four years. She planned to begin a job as a team leader for Habitat for Humanity after graduation. On the day she graduated from college, as she was driving home with her parents, a driver talking on his cell phone caused a terrible accident. Neither of Jacy’s parents survived. Jacy and Jared were orphans in an instant.

Jacy, barely clinging to life, underwent over eight hours of surgery and was given just a 10% chance of surviving the night. Miraculously, Jacy lived. She underwent months of hospitalization and rehabilitation, and her injuries healed, although she still does not have full use of her left arm or leg and she has a slightly crooked smile (the accident happened in 2008).

Her college boyfriend, who faithfully spent countless hours by Jacy’s side during her ordeal, eventually became her husband and together Jacy and her husband Steve now lead an organization dedicated to warning the public about the dangers of distracted driving, and advocating for cell-phone free roads. The organization is called, appropriately “Hang Up and Drive“. You can read the full version of Jacy’s story here. Warning: it will bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye.

 

Meditations in Motion
Jacy is in the red dress, Oprah, of course, doesn’t need identification, and Jacy’s husband Steve is on the right. (Not sure who the other woman in the picture is.)

Jacy and Steve now travel the country telling their story and encouraging people (often students) to put away the cell phones while driving. They also inform our legislators about the dangers of distracted driving and advocate for stricter laws in order to protect the public from distracted drivers. Jacy was even featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show (and other national programs)!

Below is the powerful video Jacy made with the teenage cast of You Tube’s Summer Break. It is a short video – less than four minutes – that is well worth watching. I dare you to watch it without choking up. This is a link to Jacy’s Facebook page. You can give her a “like” and “follow” to see what she and Steve are up to and share your support.

By writing this post, I am attempting to follow Jacy’s inspiring example and turn my fury into something good. If I can get just one person to think twice about using their cell phone while driving, I have been successful. It’s the least I can do for Jacy.

I am linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for their Weekly Wrap, Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging ,Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, and blovedboston for Weekending.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

59 comments

  1. My car was totaled in an intersection by someone on a cellphone who didn’t notice that his light had turned red. I was incredibly fortunate that I wasn’t hurt. Distracted driving has become a national epidemic and it’s getting worse. My husband was recently shopping for a new car and had a salesperson tell him that he can connect his phone to the dashboard screen and it will mirror everything his phone can do… including stream videos. I guess it will take the death of a few politicians’ loved ones before much needed laws are passed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is TERRIBLE! I do use the mirror link for driving directions. It seems safer than looking down at a phone in my lap or even a paper map, but you are right – the cell phone epidemic is getting worse and worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful post. I’d say your percentage of 1 in 3 drivers using their cell phone while driving is pretty much spot on. In fact, it might be higher. There was an article in a local newspaper where police officers would ride on transit vehicles and spot people on their cell phones in cars. They would radio ahead and the car/driver in question would get pulled over. Not enough tickets books to handle the number. Pretty sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so right there with you. Now you are getting me going. A picture of a recent accident that floated on facebook was a car slammed into the back of a school bus. The car, a fellow student, was crushed all the way to the back seat so you can imagine what was left of the driver – and yet the cell phone was still in her hand. This generation is way far into the electronic age in my opinion. Some of them are hooked on it like drugs or they are so dependent on electronics finding their answers that can not even think for themselves. Great post and I stand with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, how sad! Jacy advises students to put cell phones away in the trunk of the car or glove box so they are not tempted to use them while they drive. Using the cell phone is exactly like drugs. Both produce a shot of dopamine. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  4. I would have been furious too! This is exactly why I’m always on super high alert when I’m running outside. I just feel like people are so damn distracted now and it’s just crazy! Not only crazy but irresponsible as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I could high-5 you in person (how about a “tap” on the screen?). Cell phones serve a valuable purpose, but many owners have become co-dependent on them (myself included). That said, I have the discipline and self restraint to ignore all of the notifications as they beep while driving. I was a nervous wreck driving on my recent trip to Philly, I wonder if that was the road I was on? The traffic was absolutely scary…exactly as you described.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will gladly accept a tap on the screen in place of an in-person high 5! Thank you! Good for you for ignoring the notifications while you are driving. Jacy suggests that kids lock their phones in their glove boxes while they drive to remove temptation. It could have been the Schuylkill that you were driving on.

      Like

    • That is exactly my strategy. I use the mirror function of my car to navigate with my phone. I actually think it’s safer than using a paper map or just my phone by itself, but other than that, it’s zipped away in my bag.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I see this all the time on my 5 mile drive too and from work. I drive on a very busy suburban arterial with lots of stop lights and shopping centers. I also saw this a ton on my last bike ride. It’s just frightening. Even at work I have to ask parents to stop texting while I’m performing a visit on their child. I’ve actually asked them if they want me to come back when they’re done.

    Remember the days when all we had was a landline? And an answering machine?

    It can wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do remember the days of landline and answering machines. I can’t now imagine how we ever got along without cell phones, but I keep mine zippered in my bag while I drive. It IS frightening.

      Like

  7. the cell phone driving thing really annoys me as well. Especially on that road! Thanks for sharing your friend’s story. Tragic events like that should make us all think twice about our own driving habits. Your life can change in an instant

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My husband often counts the drivers around us who are on their cell phones. He also likes to yell “Put Down The Phone!” although they can’t hear him. It is his biggest pet peeve…understandably. And, I’m willing to bet it’s closer to 50% around here. Jacy’s story is very powerful and what she is doing very admirable. Thanks for calling attention to her worthy cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We have very strict distracted driving laws in California, which doesn’t mean it never happens, but there is no doubt those policies save a lot of lives — and prevent a lot of heartbreak like your former student’s heartbreaking experience. And, y’know, there is certainly a place for righteous anger!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post Laurie.
    Ya I don’t us my phone while driving and it bugs me to see other people doing it and it drives me nuts if you do it with me in the car you’re libel to get your ass chowed out by me for it.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I also get so upset when I see someone on their phone while driving! People think they are the exception but all it takes is a split second for things to go wrong. Thanks for sharing the work Jacy is doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing Jacy’s story and turning your (rightful) fury into a call for action. Distracted driving is a national epidemic and a fixable one at that. I like the idea of tossing the cell phone into the back seat so you can’t be tempted to quickly text and drive.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. With all the technology we now see in cars, you would think that someone would invent something that could be fitted to cars that would prevent a cell phone being used except as hands free wouldn’t you? It would have incensed me also. There is no excuse for driving dangerously. #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t drive often and I always find myself amazed how people can drive and use their phones. I wondered if it was something that didn’t come to me because I don’t drive often, but reading the comments above I see it’s something that isn’t easy.
    Thanks for sharing your student’s story — so poignant

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That video was powerful and I too cried while watching it. As a walker, while walking in the neighborhood, I have to constantly be on the alert. It was not so bad in Summer, but now that school is back in session, drivers run out of the house, their kids trailing behind them, and they are already late before they even open the car door. They want to take the kids to school, stop for coffee, they’re running behind, they’re texting, they’re putting on makeup while driving or shaving, they never look before backing up. I will share this story with you – I just felt sick when this accident happened and the guy was just sentence in late August. It might not have made a big splashy news headline except for the fact that he was a MSU coach, or assistant coach, and reading the story, you see what he did – texting, Googling while driving and a construction site was nearing, woman and her child slowed but no, he, the distracted driver was fixated by his phone screen and plowed into them. He lived, they died. https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2018/08/30/former-msu-strength-coach-gets-7-15-years-crash-killed-2/1140356002/

    Liked by 1 person

    • How awful! That mom and her beautiful daughter, gone! Watching for people backing out of driveways is something I am very aware of. It makes running or walking on rail trails even more appealing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It sure does – people do not pay attention. In the Winter at least you can see the exhaust coming from the car, but you also have people who start the car remotely so you can’t tell right away if they are in the car or still in the house. I end up just crossing the street sometimes so I don’t have to worry. I hate when I see the texting too, and I heard a news report that gave a percentage of people who are watching Netflix on their phones while driving. I was glad this coach got a significant amount of jail time – it was bad enough that he ran into the woman and her daughter because he was not paying attention, but texting and Googling for bars at the same time was appalling.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. For the last several years, we have been fortunate to live in places that have laws against using cell phones while driving. Of course there are still rule breakers, but it’s pretty rare that I look over and see another driver on their phone. I wish distracted driving laws would catch on faster – it seems like slow progress. What I have seen recently is people BIKING while texting. I don’t even know how!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s