It seems there just can’t be enough discussed about the importance of stopping the use of cell phones while driving.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently published an article with this byline: “He survived Iraq but was killed by a distracted driver.”   

Javier Zamora, who served in Iraq as a helicopter door gunner and lived to tell about it, was killed after returning to the United States by a driver fumbling with a cell phone.  He lost his life in 2007 in Southern California, when his car was struck head-on by one driven by a woman who was reaching between the seats for her phone.  This Thursday, his wife, Jennifer Zamora, will relate the family’s story during a Texas Distracted Driving Summit in San Antonio.  Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary, is scheduled to speak, and experts will talk about scientific studies on distracted driving and what politicians and phone and auto manufacturers are doing to curb it. 

Ms. Zamora, who is a Lockheed Martin air traffic controller at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, will serve on a panel of survivors who will discuss what it is like to live with the loss of a loved one – caused by a preventable accident.  USAA, a Texas-based military financial services provider, the Department of Transportation, and Shriners Hospitals for Children are presenting the summit.  In addition to LaHood’s appearance and testimony from survivors of crash victims, experts will take part in panel discussions about the latest technologies, corporate policies on mobile devices and public officials’ willingness to forge change. 

For Javier Zamora, it’s too late.  He was a “Mr. Mom” to their three children, and Jennifer’s daughter by a previous marriage.  According to his wife, he was their foundation.  He handled a more domestic role, seeing that the kids ate properly, wore nice clothes and did their schoolwork.  He served his country, yet was taken in his prime by a preventable accident.  

There are still about 54 per cent of motorists that believe that their driving ability is unchanged while they talk on the phone.  Even if one has all the hands-free devices in the world, it remains possible that just concentrating on the conversation takes away from paying attention to the road.   We continue to observe National Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout this month, and should persist in doing so every day.  The Texas Transportation Department bought radio spots and billboard space for ads with the slogan: “Talk. Text. Crash.” 

Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram