The Cost of Distracted Driving


One of my favorite bloggers, August McLaughlin posted a great post on mindful driving a few months ago.

Today, I learned that Tonianne, a lovely, generous woman (who is both a Facebook friend and former co-worker), was run down by a distracted driver. Tonianne’s mom (Toni) has been blogging about the horrible, life-shattering repercussions of a distracted driver and her daughter’s very very long road to recovery.

According to her blog, “A man lost control of his pick-up truck, when he dropped his cell phone and took his eyes off the road. He hit her full force, knocked her up in the air and she landed on her head on the hood, and then bounced onto the grass.”

Tonianne’s injuries included: “an open book broken pelvis, two broken hips, a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, with swelling and bleeding of the brain, a severely broken left arm in 3 places, and a broken foot. She also sustained a lacerated kidney and urethra.”

If you have a moment, please stop by her mom’s blog and read about what this family has been going through. If you can show some blog love, I’m sure she’d appreciate it. And if you’d like to make a donation to help cover the substantial costs of her recovery and her bills while she is unable to work, you can make a donation via Paypal or credit card.

This distracted driver has shattered so many lives. Over a cell phone. A cell phone. A human life nearly lost. Her family lives’ (mom, husband, daughter, siblings, and friends) are severely wounded by this driver’s moment of carelessness. I can’t imagine a worse hurt than a four-year-old girl not understanding why Mommy can’t tuck her in at night.

That is the cost of distracted driving.

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57 Responses to The Cost of Distracted Driving

  1. Tragic.
    If it’s important – pull over and make the call.

  2. crubin says:

    How tragic. When will people learn? I hope her recovery goes well. Nice of you to link to her blog. I will check it out.

    • It’s one thing when people have to pay for their own mistakes, but when an innocent person suffers for someone else’s screw up that is just plain unacceptable to me. She’s a very brave lady. Her mom’s blog brought me to tears. Her mom says the doctor’s are very impressed with her progress and moving her back to NY to treat her brain related injuries. But she has to heal up her hips and pelvis and become mobile before they can begin to really focus on that. But there is tremendous hope for her recovery. :)

      Thanks for checking out her mom’s blog. Her mom is a cancer survivor and has am amazing perspective on life. :)

  3. Yatin says:

    Tough traffic law are not stopping people from texting/talking while driving. I hope technology might come up with a solution. May be Cars alarms goes off if drivers eyes are not on the road or hands off the steering.. something like that.

    • Hi Yatin, thanks for stopping by and commenting! It’s unfortunate that we have to police common sense. Truly. A car is a machine that needs to be operated carefully and with full attention. People think, I get in this every day and drive. No big deal. It is a big deal. Technology may be a good solution. I’m all for taking away licenses when this happens. Driving is a privilege not a right.

  4. Cat Forsley says:

    WOW …….:(
    I AM JUST READING YOUR RESPONSE ABOVE AS WELL
    “POLICING COMMON SENSE ”
    SERIOUSLY …..
    I DON’T DRIVE BUT I VIEW CARS AS BIG METAL WEAPONS
    SERIOUSLY IN THIS CASE ……
    YOU ARE RIGHT – IT’S A PRIVILEGE ——-
    LOVE AND HEALING ——– TO YOUR FRIEND …….
    I AM NOT ON FACEBOOK BUT SENDING MY LOVE ….
    I AM FOLLOWING HER MOM’S BLOG NOW ………

    HOPE HOPE HOPE AND SO MUCH HEALING HER WAY ………..
    LOVE XO
    C

    • Catherine, I was driving today and felt the need to put extra focus into it. I really wanted to be 110% present at the wheel. Because I don’t ever want to be the person that causes this kind of damage to anyone else.

      That is the best way to view cars.

      Thanks so much for sending positive thoughts and following her mom’s blog. :) Hopefully the universe helps her heal as fast as possible so she can spend time with her daughter again.

      Thanks for your support and kindness. You are a lovely lovely person Miss Catherine. :)

  5. Marc Schuster says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s so tragic, and could have been so easily prevented.

    • Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, Marc. It is incredibly tragic and completely preventable. I am so very angry that this family has to endure so much because of one careless driver.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Thank you for such an important reminder, Kourtney. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments of distraction and realized “that was close.” Most times, our inattention doesn’t affect anyone. But there’s always the chance it will.

    Every time we get behind the wheel, we become a potentially deadly weapon. We don’t have to be drunk or high. We only have to be distracted for one instant at the wrong time.

    I agree that when truly careless actions cause such devastation, the “responsible” party should be subject to the full force of the law. The regret may be with them forever. But it’s nothing compared to the challenges or loss the family and friends of the victim (and surviving victims) will face.

    • Even when our eyes are on the road, sometimes we miss something or get a little too close to the line or the side of the road. Most of the time, we adjust, refocus and everything is fine. But when you think about the kind of devastation inattention can cause. It makes me want to be on high alert behind the wheel.

      That is so true. I love that line–“Every time we get behind the wheel, we become a potentially deadly weapon.”

      I can’t imagine how hard things are for Tonianne and her family. I just keep sending them positive thoughts. :)

  7. I have chills and teary eyes, Kourtney. I’m so sorry to hear about Tonianne. I’ll keep her and her family in my thoughts and race over to support in any way I can. It’s somber and heart-breaking that stories like these are often what leads to vital, life-saving changes in how we live our lives. No phone call or text is worth such painful consequences.

    Thank you for this post! So honored to be a part of it. :)

    • August, my heart broke as I read all of her mom’s blog posts. It’s such a sad story. The bright spot is that she is out of ICU now. Still faces months of rehab and relearning ahead. Pain from a broken body and mind. But there is hope that she can recover. :) Thanks so much for thinking of her. I think it helps her mom to blog about it and receive comments. I can’t imagine what this family is going through.

      August, I loved your post on mindful driving and when I heard about Tonianne, your blog post ran through my head. If only that driver had read it and understood the consequences of future carelessness.

  8. Samir says:

    OMG! How tragic and painful. Carelessness while driving is becoming a real nuisance everywhere. The poor girl, all those injuries…

    • Samir, she is incredibly lucky to be alive. But all those months or pain, healing, and rehab will be the hardest of her life. Careless driving is getting up there with drunk driving in terms of its life destroying qualities.

  9. This makes me wish we could have some sort of device on our cars that when we see someone texting/talking that we can dissconect them. This is so tragic because the driver was probably saying something stupid and inanne to begin with.

    • Seriously. But then they’d probably get distracted trying to redial. It’s beyond stupid and careless. We have hands free dialing. We have cars equipped with speakerphone. And we always have the option of pulling over and making a call.

  10. Cat Forsley says:

    OKAY !!!!!!! FOLLOWING HER NOW !
    WORDPRESS IS FAST AT RESPONDING ……!
    THX SO MUCH ….

    • Very welcome! Thanks for following her. :) I am so happy to hear in the comments that she is making progress and was able to see her daughter today!!!

      • Cat Forsley says:

        YOU WERE :)
        WOW ……..
        THAT’S AMAZING !!!!!!!!
        LOVE AND HEALING TO HER AND WHAT A GREAT FRIEND YOU ARE …………….
        TO HER :)
        HAVE A LOVELY DAY ………….
        XOXO

        • Catherine, so very very happy for them. 5 weeks to get to this point, but Mom and daughter were reunited! :) Lots of love and healing!

          AW thanks. She’s always been very supportive of my writing and I really want to show my support, especially through this rough time. :)

          Have a great day!
          Kourtney

  11. Margo says:

    Thank you for spreading this message! I’m Tonianne’s sister-in-law. A happy note for today: Tonianne saw her daughter today for the first time in 5 weeks! She was very lucid and it was a beautiful reunion!

    • Hi Margo! I was so touched and saddened by your mother-in-law’s blog that I wanted to help spread the word. Tonianne is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I am so happy to hear Tonianne and her daughter were reunited. :) That’s so wonderful! Please tell her I’m rooting for her.

  12. Makes us all think – about being careful, but also about how precious life is. Glad you shared this.

    • Thanks Carol. I was so outraged when I read about what Tonianne and her family have been going through. I had to take to my blog. I just hope more people realize that a car can be a deadly weapon and impaired drivers are a threat to pedestrians and everyone else on the road.

  13. Reblogged this on Kristy K. James and commented:
    Impaired driving needs to be stopped. Whether it’s distractions from cell phones, alcohol, eating or playing with the radio. The consequences are just not worth it.

  14. The cost is too, too high. I wonder how many more Toniannes there will have to be before we have a national law against drivers using cell phones. So not fair.

    • Even in states with laws against it, I see people texting and dialing while driving. It would be one thing if the driver paid the cost for their own behavior but when innocent victims are killed or forced to endure multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation, that’s when I become enraged. What will it take for people to realize driving a car is a dangerous activity that requires all their focus?

  15. even with distracted driving laws here in Alberta, we are still ticketing people like crazy. amazing that people won’t stop with the cell phones.

    • Hi, Louise. I don’t understand why people continue to be so reckless behind the wheel. It’s a shame especially when they aren’t the ones having to deal with the consequences of their actions. :(
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      • why would anyone assume that you can take your eyes off the road and still be safe? amazing to me.

        • Louise, I don’t know. Unfortunately, he was safe. It’s the poor jogger on the road that suffered. :(

          • of course, sorry, Kourtney I should have said ‘that everyone was safe’. sometimes my fingers go faster than my brain…or is that the other way around.

          • Louise, please don’t apologize! Your comment was spot on. :) No one should think it is safe. It’s a sad fact that it was safe for him. I just wanted to point out again how selfish his actions were and how unfair distracted driving is to anyone else who happens to be near that distracted driver.

          • right on. we just have to pay attention. It’s good to get to know you Kourtney.

          • Louise, it’s been lovely chatting with you here on the blog! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. :) I agree–it’s about paying attention to what we are doing and being present in that moment–especially at the wheel of an automobile. :)

  16. zelmare says:

    How horrible! cell phones cause way too many accidents – people don’t want to believe that they cannot drive and dial…

    • A cell phone is as distracting as a computer. I wouldn’t email from my laptop while driving a car. It’s just common sense. If someone wants to text and email, then that someone should be the passenger or take the bus or train.

      • zelmare says:

        Absolutely. I actually caught myself thinking about texting while driving today (I had a VERY hectic day), but stopped just short of actually doing it. Have to be more aware of what I’m doing…

        • We all have those moments needing to squash too much into a day. Yesterday, my friend asked if she could chat on the phone with her hubby while driving. In the past, I’d have said sure. But thinking about poor Tonianne, I asked her to stay parked and talk to him. When I explained why, she completely understood. :)

          • zelmare says:

            Good for you! And her. :)

          • Thanks. It’s hard to ask people to not do something, but with this tragedy on my mind, I felt like I had to. My friend was completely understanding and agreed that it is not something to do while driving. Even on speakerphone. It’s still a distraction. :)

  17. Debra Kristi says:

    Wow. I visited her blog. Her story made me misty eyed. Life can be such a gamble sometimes when it shouldn’t be. If it wasn’t a phone, then it would have been a hamburger or messing with the radio. It’s always something. Will people ever learn? They scare me sometimes. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    • Debra, her mom is so incredibly strong to write these blog posts while this is going on. When I read them, I had to share them. It really really got to me. When bad decisions impact the decision maker that feels right to me, but when they derail and damage innocent people’s lives that feel like a colossal wrong.

  18. Pingback: GOF Moments: Could You Save Your Life? « August McLaughlin's Blog

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