Letters to the Editor: #DistractionFreeFriday edition

Letters to the Editor: #DistractionFreeFriday edition

The following is a letter I received from my boss when I worked at the car dealership back in college (in reply to my request for others to participate in our #DistractionFreeFriday contest and giveaway). He was a great mentor to me, and I’m thankful that today’s technology allows us to remain in contact. If you have a teenage driver, or a soon-to-be driver, I hope that this story will encourage you. It’s not easy to be a teenager and do things differently, or go against the grain. So kudos to this teenage, soon-to-be licensed driver for setting a good example, and to her parents for showing her the way. Enjoy.

First, thanks for keeping the fight going for distraction-free driving.  I’m a big proponent.  I’ll let others compete for the tires, as mine are always free anyway (having a demo is a huge benefit!)  But I will tell you simply why I believe this is so important to me.  It kills, and I’ve seen it first hand.

I was traveling some years ago, on my way back to Dayton from Indiana.  I got into a traffic jam on I-70 eastbound just west of Dayton.  A car had driven under the back of a tractor-trailer, and the driver of the car had been killed instantly.  It was a truly gruesome scene.  On the 11 o’clock news that night, I watched in horror as the mother of that driver told the story of how she was on the phone with her daughter, when all of a sudden the daughter screamed, and the the mother heard the crash on the other end.  The daughter was the driver who was killed while she was trying to attend to a baby in the back seat and talking on a cell phone to her mother at the same time.  Can you just imagine the mother’s grief and guilt?

I have a daughter who is in driver’s education right now, and will likely get her license next month.  Her mother and I are doing everything we can to educate her and set the right example for her as she begins her life of driving.

And, it’s working.

She recently refused to ride to her dance classes with a young girl she’s been sharing a ride with for months because the girl won’t quit texting at stop lights.  It means her mother and I have to go out of our way to get her to dance class.  We have to leave work early.  We have to stay late to make up lost time.  But you know what?  It’s worth it because our daughter is making the right choice and she is safe.  For me, that simple decision means we are having an impact.

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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.