The dan­gers of tex­ting and driv­ing

El Dorado News-Times - - Living - HA­LEY SMITH

There are sit­u­a­tions and ac­tions that I know are in­her­ently bad for some­one to do, but it never truly hits home un­til it af­fects some­one I care about.

On Aug. 30, my lit­tle cousin’s boyfriend, Dakota, was hit headon com­ing home from work. He broke at least one bone in ev­ery part of his body, has punc­tured or­gans, lac­er­a­tions from head to toe and crushed hands.

It took days to find all of the bro­ken and man­gled parts of his in­sides be­cause of the swelling. They had to give him blood first thing when he got to the hos­pi­tal be­cause there was not enough left in his body to prop­erly cir­cu­late through­out him.

Now you may ask what caused the wreck? Did the car mal­func­tion, did the other driver fall asleep at the wheel or was he try­ing to avoid some­thing in the road?

If it had been some­thing of that na­ture, the rage I feel in­side would not be there.

The other per­son was al­legedly tex­ting when he swerved into Dakota’s lane.

Wit­nesses re­ported see­ing the driver tex­ting, though the driver says that was not the case.

Whether or not that was the case in Dakota’s ac­ci­dent, the dan­gers of tex­ting and driv­ing are very real.

I re­mem­ber the groups that would come talk to our classes about those dan­gers. I re­mem­ber think­ing that would never hap­pen to me or any of my friends. When some­one gets into an ac­ci­dent be­cause of tex­ting and driv­ing, I’m sure they never thought their ac­tion would cause such dev­as­ta­tion be­cause when you’re young you think you’re in­vin­ci­ble and your ac­tions won’t have ram­i­fi­ca­tions.

And then an­other per­son has to suf­fer for that de­ci­sion.

Dakota is 18 and loves to lead a sim­ple coun­try boy and work­ing man life­style. Noth­ing makes him hap­pier than go­ing hunt­ing, fish­ing, swim­ming in the river and rid­ing four-wheel­ers. He works with his hands and has a knack for fix­ing things. He woke up scared that he’d lose his job, not fully com­pre­hend­ing how close he was to los­ing his life.

Af­ter mul­ti­ple surg­eries, he has enough rods and screws hold­ing him to­gether that he will have to learn ev­ery­thing again but it will never be the same. He won’t walk or run like an 18-yearold should. His body

will ache and protest like he was 40 years older than he is just by climb­ing out of his bed ev­ery morn­ing. He will have to deal with wak­ing up in a cold sweat from re­liv­ing those mo­ments over and over in his mind for the rest of his life.

His girl­friend, my lit­tle cousin, Julie, will never be the same. The boy that hung the moon, ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal in an un­sta­ble con­di­tion. She didn’t know if he would make it.

In that in­stant, she had to face is­sues that were far be­yond what an 18-year-old should have to deal with. The care-free boy she met in high school will need her help and strength while he heals, and even when he gets bet­ter he won’t be who he was.

Never in a mil­lion years did his fam­ily think they would be help­ing him out of a hos­pi­tal bed and watch­ing him strug­gle to place weight on his legs.

Re­gard­less of the rea­son for Dakota’s ac­ci­dent, it re­minded me of the dan­gers that come when you just can’t wait to grab that cell­phone.

Please, the next time you hear your smart­phone while headed to work, home or any­where else, wait un­til you ar­rive be­fore an­swer­ing.

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