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Distracted Driving is a Choice
July 13, 2015
On November 23, 2007, Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell made a series of poor decisions that led to the tragic death of two young sisters. While en-route to a report of a traffic accident, Trooper Mitchell chose to drive at speeds close to 120mph, talk on his cell phone, and use his computer simultaneously. This series of decisions proved to be fatal when Trooper Mitchell lost control of his patrol car, crossed the median, and collided with Jessica and Kelli Uhl’s car, resulting in their senseless deaths and a tragic loss to the girls’ family and community.
Departments can help reduce distracted driving with departmental policy and technological adaptations that restrict equipment use when a patrol car is moving. Sometimes it takes a personal message to influence an officer’s decision-making process. Kim Schlau (Jessica and Kelli’s mother) keeps the girls’ memory alive and their deaths worthwhile by personally sharing their story with law enforcement officers across the nation, hoping to influence them to make better choices when they get behind the wheel of a patrol car. When officers hear Kim Schlau’s story, and see the consequences of distracted driving firsthand, it can make the difference in their driving choices.
Still not convinced? In 2013, collisions involving a distracted driver killed 3,154 people, and another 424,000 people were injured.
Kim Schlau will be speaking at the Below 100 training in Vacaville, CA on August 19, 2015. Register at below100.org to attend the training.
Save lives. Prevent injuries. Choose NOT to drive distracted.
Wear your seatbelt, watch your speed, and practice SAFE driving!
The SAFE Driving Campaign is a POST initiative focused on reducing fatal and serious injury law enforcement traffic collisions nationwide. For further information regarding the SAFE Driving Campaign, visit the SAFE Driving Campaign on the POST Website or contact:
Janna Munk, POST Senior Consultant
Training Program Services Bureau