Kendall Schoenekase, Miss Kansas Photo credit - Kristy Belcher Photography
years ago, I was a victim in a car crash caused by texting and driving. I am
not alone. Every year, over 4,000 teens are killed, and another 438,000 people
are injured in crashes that are preventable. In an age where technology
provides a variety of mobile devices, we are facing epidemic acts of negligence
behind the wheel.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined driving while
texting is six times more dangerous than drunk driving. In fact, five seconds
is the average time eyes are taken off the road when texting. At 55 miles per
hour, it’s enough time to cover the length of a football field, virtually
blindfolded, according to distraction.gov. With 660,000 drivers manipulating
electronic devices while behind the wheel at any given moment, the life of
every individual on, or around our roads can be impacted in an instant.
first-hand experience was not a tragic one, rather, it was an eye-opening
moment, proving to me that NO ONE is safe when a driver is texting. A crash can
happen at ANY moment, to ANY person. Just to lay it all out on the table, I,
too, used to give into the temptation of technology, using my phone while
driving. But I had to learn the hard way, experiencing how in the blink of an
eye my life could have been stripped away.
pledged that day to never pick up my phone while behind the wheel again. In
addition, I made it a personal mission to educate others on the dangers of such
actions so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Not only did I experience
this first hand as a victim, I relive those moments frequently as a registered
nurse, often providing medical care to others hospitalized due to texting and
a survivor, a driver and a compassionate nurse, I am taking action to change
these statistics and save lives. I am committed to defeating the most dangerous
distraction that drivers face today with my three-step action plan - Educate,
Engage, Legislate: The Kansan’s Care Campaign. Through the Kansans Care
Campaign and my three-step action plan, I will continue to reach thousands
around the country.
many people have been affected by texting and driving. It is crucial for people
of all ages to understand the risks, dangers, and consequences of their actions
in order to change attitudes and behaviors regarding texting while driving.
was named Miss Kansas 2016 on June 11