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Feb 25

The True Cost of Distracted Driving


One text. One GPS entry. One lipstick application. That’s all it takes to change someone’s life forever. Distracted driving is a behaviour that most people agree is dangerous, yet everyone continues to do it. People think they are in control, that they’re a good driver, so they can get away with one text. It’s everyone else that’s the problem. But they’re wrong. All of us have the power to stop distracted driving. You’re not only risking your life, but the life of others. Think long and hard about what you’re willing to lose if you send that text.

As part of our distracted driving feature this month, we asked Albertans to submit stories about their experience with distracted driving. Here are two stories that show its true cost.

“On a cold clear night I got the worst news anyone could ever hear. My love, who was my best friend passed away in a car accident. On October 28th, 2014, Ryan and his friend Ricky were hit head on by a distracted driver who crossed the centerline at KM 142 on Hwy 63. It’s a date that will forever haunt me. And a date that will bring me to tears every time I have to face it. The worst pain in the world is losing the one person whom you cared for and loved with all your heart and to have your future with them completely taken away. Distracted driving has a major ripple effect…Ryan’s death has changed many people’s lives and broken a lot of hearts. All because of one person’s actions behind the wheel. Why? That is a question I still ask myself daily. The most frustrating thing about that accident is that it didn’t have to happen. Ryan should still be here living the life he was given, spending it with his family, friends and loved ones. He was taken too soon. It was not his time and there are many broken hearts. R.I.P Ryan Goulet and Ricky Livingstone.”

Jennifer Janisch
Wandering River

“It was January 13, 2016. It was snowing and Hwy 881 was icy with poor visibility. It was after 5:00pm when I started my hour and a half long trip down 881 from Lac La Biche towards Conklin. It was dark and I could barely see the road ahead of me, so I planned to take my time and just go slow. Soon after the drive started, I began thinking about home and let my mind wander as it does when I’m bored. I suddenly realized I was losing focus on the road when I almost hit a deer. With nowhere else to go, I got over on the road just enough to miss it. I finally got my bearings, and realized while this was happening there had been traffic coming towards me. I hadn’t been paying attention to the road at a time when all of my attention should have been on driving, especially while conditions were so bad. I’ve learned my lesson and will always focus on the road. Distracted driving is not always doing something with your hands. Your mind can also be a distraction. Be safe out there.”

Erin Pudlo