Texting and driving: what happens every day in America

Jenna had it all: She was smart, pretty, inquisitive and popular, with just one more year until she graduated from high school.

She was at the top of her class and couldn’t wait until high school was over, and she could become a pediatrician just like her dad. One day, Jenna would be an MD.

“One day at a time,” her parents always told her, even though she wanted to rush to the next stage of her life.

At the end of her senior year, the big day came: prom. Jenna had so many things to do, like get her hair done, pick a dress, and all of those things every girl going to the prom needs to do. The day before, Jenna had to put these things on the back burner since her mom cooked a mouthwatering meal for her and some important guests — her grandparents, only the sweetest and kindest people in the whole world, by the way.

Mom sent Jenna a text:

“Hey Jenna, where are you? U OK? It’s almost time for dinner. Grandma and grandpa are waiting.”

As Jenna drove home in a hurry, she knew not to look at her phone. But the text was from her mom, and Jenn knew she’d be safe as she traveled along the narrow winding road … maybe a little too fast.

She went to text back.

Forty-five minutes past since her mom texted Jenna who said she’d be home in 15 minutes. Jeff and Patty Davis now were concerned. Jeff Davis, MD, decided to look for his daughter.

He jumped into the car and took the usual route that Jenna would probably have taken home.

Instinctively, Dr. Jeff knew something was wrong. Jenna always followed through. She was always on time.

He traveled around that narrow road. What he saw left him breathless. There was a stabbing feeling in his heart as he saw ambulances, police, fire trucks and other people standing by watching. There were EMTs and paramedics standing over a crushed up body. And there was that cute yellow car Jenna got for her 17th birthday.

That car was wrapped around a tree on the opposite side of the road she was supposed to be driving on.

Jenna. His pride and joy. Pulseless, disfigured. Snapped at the neck. Lifeless.

The paramedic found Jenna’s cell phone on the floor of the car.

Jenna had texted her mom back:

“Mom CALM down. I’ll be home in 15 minu …”

This story is a composite of what happens every day in America.

Debbie Moore-Black is a nurse who blogs at Do Not Resuscitate.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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