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In September of 2007, Lauren Wisdom was on the last leg of a 90-minute drive from her uncle’s house to her home. Even at the young age of 17, she was familiar with the route, having driven it many times. So she and a friend were having a conversation—via text message.

No Text Zone: Lauren Wisdom

In 2007, Lauren Wisdom was injured in a car accident while texting and driving. A recent graduate of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, Wisdom is a spokesperson for ABC Channel 30’s Missouri No Text Zone campaign.

When the sound of rumble strips caught her attention, Wisdom swerved back onto the highway, overcorrecting to avoid hitting a car in the next lane. That’s when her car flipped three times. Without a seat belt to hold her in place—she had unbuckled because the belt was chafing her shoulder—Wisdom was thrown through the driver’s-side window, landing 100 feet from her car on the opposite side of the highway.

U.S. Department of Transportation statistics related to distracted driving, including texting while driving, emphasize the need for text-free roads and highways.

  • In 2010, 3,092 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor-vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving undistracted.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, thereby creating a situation similar to driving the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded.

In 2012, Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s trauma services group joined with ABC’s Channel 30 to launch the Missouri No Text Zone campaign that asks drivers to take a “don’t text and drive” pledge.

Wisdom was lucky—she sustained relatively minor injuries: bruised lungs, glass in her scalp and knees, and road rash. She recovered in two weeks. After the accident, Wisdom shared her story with high school classmates. Then she partnered with Sergeant Al Nothum of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and began to give talks about the dangers of distracted driving. Recently, she was featured in a video for Channel 30’s No Text Zone program.

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