Distracted Driving: Parents tell Ohio teens 'Dnt txt n drv'

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Brock and Sara Dietrich are on a mission to spare others the pain of losing a child because of distracted driving. They are working to educate both teenagers and adults about how one bad decision can change many lives forever.

On October 18, 2013, their 17 year old daughter, Sydnee Williams, was driving on State Route 161 near Beech Road. Two friends were passengers in her car. When Sydnee’s phone rang, she picked it up. Sydnee then lost control of her car. Her car flipped twice and went into oncoming traffic. Sydnee died of her injuries two days later. Her back seat passenger suffered a broken arm, neck and back while her front seat passenger was uninjured. The front seat passenger was wearing a seat belt – Sydnee was not.

Impact Teen Drivers, a nonprofit organization, has a goal of reversing motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death of American teens. Impact Teen Drivers made a video detailing Sydnee’s short life, and the effect of her death.

Mr. Dietrich said of the video, “It’s about the emotional connection teens make that ‘this could be me.’ The kids really were connected with the message. It hits home. Vicky, the rear-seat passenger, talked about the impact. They did everything together. Sydnee changed Vicky’s life forever as a result of it.”

“She (Sydnee) also made a bad decision to not wear her seat belt. She had her seat belt on earlier that night. For my wife and I, that was the hardest to understand. It was unfathomable to us she wouldn’t have her seat belt on. Three people were in the same car crash, and they had their belts on in different fashion. In Ohio last year, over 50 percent of those who died in car crashes would be alive today if they had worn their seat belts, and Sydnee was one of them.”

Dietrich urges teen drivers to remove distractions by turning off their phones while they are driving. “Do something so you aren’t tempted to reach and grab it. The decision you make behind the wheel is so critical and look at the impact. Our goal is to have people share Sydnee’s story so we can prevent another family form experiencing a similar tragedy,” he said.

The distracted driving injury lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List have witnessed the devastating loss a moment of inattention can cause. We urge all parents to counsel their children about safe driving practices.