Distracted driving awareness: ‘I don’t want anyone to go through what we went through’

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David Talsma, 13 (Facebook)

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — The family of a teen killed in a distracted driving crash last year talked Monday about the dangers of texting and driving.

The National Save a Life Tour visits 150 schools a year. Organizers and special guest speakers talk students about the dangers of texting and driving, as well as drinking and driving.  Driving simulators provide students to experience both scenarios in a safe place.

Clay Martin is the tour manager for the ‘Save a Life Tour’ and talked to FOX 17 about the importance of national tour.

“We are given the opportunity to speak to students and potential drivers of the future and really we just remind them about the information they already have, why safe driving is so important and really we’re just reminding them that safe driving is about the people you’re taking care of themselves and those around them.”

David Talsma, 13, was killed in a highway crash in August 2015. Authorities say the driver who reportedly caused the crash was distracted. On Monday, Kristin DeGraff, David’s  mother, spoke at the event at  Hudsonville Schools.

“It’s really hard to get up and talk to people about this. It’s hard to relive those feelings and be out there,”said DeGraff. “I feel very strongly that distracted driving is an epidemic… I feel like we have a message to share.”

She’s hoping her message will make a difference.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what we went through so if by sharing my story I can change one person’s behavior or one person’s attitude about how they feel about being behind the wheel and taking it seriously then I can make a difference and I can prevent a family from going through this,” said DeGraff.

Martin said decision and responsibility for those in the vehicle, come down to the driver.

“If you accept that responsibility to drive that car you are solely responsible for its result,” said Martin. “So understand that texting and driving, drinking and driving, wearing your seat belt, speeding, whatever comes from those is in your hands.”

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