At Impact Teen Drivers, we work closely with people who have been affected by reckless and distracted driving. The majority are parents who have lost a teenage son or daughter to a car crash that could have been prevented. We also work with young adults who took the lives of other young people because of the choices they made while behind the wheel. Car crashes due to reckless and distracted driving represent a health epidemic whose myriad symptoms and complications are hard to quantify. One thing is certain though: this epidemic can be stopped. As a society, we should not wait for even one more loss of a child to compel us to change the culture of driving. These crashes are preventable, and no one understands that better than the families who have already lost a child.
As we enter the new year, we our organization wanted to do something that recognized the work of this group of brave and generous individuals, so we hosted a luncheon to salute their service and thank them for choosing to share their stories. Their stories serve as a powerful reminder how just one poor driving choice can cost a life. Through their stories, drivers and passengers are empowered to make better decisions and ultimately change their behavior. It is through this process that we believe we can reform the culture of driving and save lives.
As a team, we also wanted to show our dedication to the cause, wanted our affected family members to see who is championing their stories day in and day out. And we are just the core group. Law enforcement, educators, health professionals, student leaders, and just generally concerned community members learn and share these stories as well; each story has remarkable reach. By choosing to share their stories even just once, the families in the room empowered our organization to be sustainable and impactful.
Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, Kelly Browning, shared a quote she remembers a teacher from graduate school saying, “People often say adversity builds character, but I believe adversity reveals character.” Dr. Browning went on to speak of the strength of our families, the generosity of spirit they possess—choosing to share the worst moment of their lives with complete strangers so that others may never experience the losses they’ve faced. We will not stop sharing these powerful personal stories until we have put an end to reckless and distracted driving, and we are not joking when we say we want to work ourselves out of a job. To see how you can join the movement, explore our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to bring an evidence-based program to your community. Most importantly, choose to drive safe and distraction-free every single time you drive.