She survived her first driving-while-texting accident – but not her second

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 6:45 PM

She’d running a stop sign and was broadsided by another driver. Metal caved in around her but the roof stayed intact and she survived with just scrapes and bruises.

She survived her first driving-while-texting accident – but not her second

Oakdale teen Amanda Clark’s phone conversation came to an abrupt finish when her Chevrolet Trailblazer rolled three times before landing on its roof. She’d running a stop sign and was broadsided by another driver. Metal caved in around her but the roof stayed intact and she survived with just scrapes and bruises.

She wrote extensively about the experience for her senior project at Oakdale High School in 2006.

“I detest the thought of dying without my family knowing how I felt about them,” she wrote. “I believe everything happens for a reason and the reason for my car accident is to let me know that I necessity to unhurried down and pay more attention. I know that I necessity to modify the way I've been living my life. My phone and talking to my friends keep me in danger. I realize how simple it's for my life to be over because I wasn’t paying attention.”

So when she got back in her car after the accident, she pledged to keep her phone away.

“I thought this would be a wake up call for her,” said Clark’s mother Bonnye Spray. “And it was for a brief time she wouldn’t speak on the phone, she was more cautious. But she got more confident in her driving and a sense of ‘Hey, I survived one, I’m invincible, nothing is going to happen to me now.’”

One year later, nearly to the day, Clark was driving in Manteca. She’d been on the phone arguing with her roommate. When she took the Highway one hundred twenty bypass to Interstate five she lost control of her car and crashed. Cell phone records indicate she was texting.

First responders told Spray it took them forty minutes to free Clark from her crumpled car, but by that point she hadn’t been breathing for twenty minutes. She died the next day.

Nine year later, Spray still cries when she tells her daughter’s story. It’s trying, but she tells it nearly every week because she wants others to memorise from it.

She’s told it to an audience of eight hundred and she’s told it to individuals, love the waitress in Inglewood who asked she and her husband why they were visiting. They were there for another presentation.

On Friday, Spray to a health class at Downey High School.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Mo and latest week was CA Teen Secure Driving Week. But presentations love the one at Downey are conducted throughout the county year-round.

About one hundred fifty presentations reaching more than 5.000 students will be done this year as portion of a program called Impact Teen Drivers, a collaboration between first responders, educators, health professionals, and traffic safety advocates.

Spray was joined in the presentation by Impact Teen Drivers representative David Aaronson, Doctors Medical Middle trauma nurse Rena Lepard and CA Hwy Patrol Officer Eric Parsons.

They talked about how the likelihood of crashing increases with each distraction: you're three times more likely to crash with three passengers in the car, twelve times more likely when you reach for your phone to check a text message and sixteen times more likely when you reply to the text.

Parsons said Impact Teen Drivers started in two thousand-tenth, a few years after hands-free driving laws were passed.

“That’s when we started seeing the ramifications of distracted driving,” he said. “With the laws changing we changed the way we coded traffic collision,” tracking distracted driving as a contribution factor.

Nationwide, 3.154 people were killed and about 424.000 more were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in two thousand-thirteenth, according to the National Hwy Traffic Safety Administration.

That same year, ten % of all teen drivers involved in lethal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Teens are among the drivers most likely to be distracted, according to the Administration, and car crashes are the no one killer of teens.

While this week focused on teen drivers, there are efforts throughout the mo to educate all drivers. Message boards on highways have been illuminated with the distracted driving awareness motto “It’s not worth it,” as well as a reminder that the ticket is $150.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Stanislaus County have been participating in grant-funded operations that keep additional officers on the Str to target distracted driving.

A driver’s education instructor first asked Spray to speak about what happened to Amanda just a few months after the crash.

She’d never done any public speaking so, “I just wrote down the basics of what'd happened. I'd to read it and bawled my eyes out the all time,” Spray said. Afterward “I noticed the kids were quiet, a lot of kids were wiping tears far and I realized this does have an impact.”

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