• Jul 19th 2013 at 8:44AM
  • 239

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On a long solo road trip in 2008 a 20-year-old Air Force veteran, Amanda Kloehr, was restless from the drive and trying to keep herself occupied. She isn't sure what she was doing, texting, talking, using the GPS or simply not paying attention, when she slammed into the back of a stopped tractor-trailer hauling a forklift.

The accident was nearly fatal, and after a medically induced week-long coma, twenty surgeries, major facial reconstruction and the loss of her eye, Kloehr was just grateful to have survived the horrific crash.

"This is what lucky looks like," she writes on her website Amanda Reconstructed.

Kloehr has been speaking out on the dangers of distracted driving ever since her ordeal began, as well as optimism in the face of adversity and her long road to recovery. At first her message was directed at teens, but she has expanded her audience, even speaking at an AARP event. She recently posted on Reddit.com's 'Ask Me Anything' forum, where users can ask questions of everyone from powerful politicians to plumbers. She told users that it wasn't just texting that cause the crash.

"That's part of what makes me different," Kloehr wrote "I was texting but I was also talking on the phone, using my GPS, checking my makeup and hair in the mirror, and messing with the radio stations and the windows. I don't know which thing I was focused on when I made impact."

It's a revealing statement. The focus of recent national public service campaigns has been to discourage texting while driving. Drivers are less likely to hear about the real scourge of roadways; day dreaming drivers.

The Erie Insurance Group released a study that looked at 65,000 fatal car crashes over the past two years. According to police reports, the study says, distracted driving caused 10 percent overall. Of those distracted driving deaths, the majority – 62 percent – were caused by drivers simply lost in thought.

Cell phones came in at 12-percent of fatal crashes. That's still high for a preventable cause of death. Day-dreaming is five times more likely to cause a fatal accident than distracted driving with a cell-phone.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      People will NEVER learn, especially teens or young adults who think that "it can't happen to me".
      • 2 Years Ago
      "I was texting but I was also talking on the phone, using my GPS, checking my makeup and hair in the mirror, and messing with the radio stations and the windows. I don't know which thing I was focused on when I made impact." Exactly. Everything's more important than driving when behind the wheel.
      • 2 Years Ago
      My husband and I own a trucking company and occasionally my husband has to drive over the road. Every single day some moron texting,talking on a cell phone or playing with the GPS or radio will veer into the lane with him. A year ago in California he was exiting the highway and traffic was stopped and a woman in a sports car was about to pass up the exit and she cut across two lanes of traffic and slammed into the side of my husbands parked big rig without even touching the breaks. Her car was completely totaled and because she refused to put down her cell phone and take the next exit she could have killed my husband,herself as well as all the vehicles that she cut off exiting the highway. People expect a big rig to stop on a dime or just because they are so big that the driver is safer than in a normal car. Well they can't stop on a dime and it's not safer. So distracted drivers don't put my husband and our children's dad at risk because you can't be bothered to pay attention on the road.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Liberals. They think they are invincible.
        • 2 Years Ago
        This is a human thing, not a political one. I'm sure it happens on both sides.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Stupid is, when conservatives think that liberals think they are invinsible.
      • 2 Years Ago
      cell phones are of satan distraction from your daily vows with God satan knows how to work his mojo. put on the wholearmor and the helmet on.
        John Shaw
        • 2 Years Ago
        Amen....iPones are the new ( God ) ...there is no time for prayer of praise anymore for Jesus...too much to do on the phones internet...uggh -
      • 2 Years Ago
      beware of scammers..now the low lifes are targeting cell phone users while driving, causing accidents for insurance claims
      • 2 Years Ago
      yep , I saw a girl in the fast lane last week, foot on the dash board texting,
      • 2 Years Ago
      We drive up the interstate a lot and every time there is some moron driving 90 mph, texting. What usually happens is they pass you, then they slow way down and you pass them noticing that they are texting. They also don't stay in their lanes, but think they are driving just fine. You people are going kill yourselves and take other lives with you!!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      God definitely was on her side
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lucky she's alive. Thankfully she didn't kill anyone.
      • 2 Years Ago
      What happened to the state laws about texting and cell phone use? In NJ I see law enforcement drive by people who are doing both. With the cut backs in federal funds to states, here is an excellent way for towns to get revenue and save lives at the same time.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I agree GIDAD1. I see the same thing in Akron Ohio. People totally focused on the text they are reading or writing while going 50 to 80 miles an hour on the highway, or out on country roads. Very scary. And even scarier because those of us who choose not to do this end up being the victims. I am very displeased at the law departments that turn a blind eye to things like this.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have a saying taped to my fridge it says: "Honk if you love Jesus; text and drive if you want to see him." I can't tell you how many times my daughter and I have been nearly hit by distracted drivers on a daily basis. Just this morning we were coming back home from the auto parts store, and a pickup truck was slowly, but surely merging over into our lane...on a two lane road. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE...PAY ATTENTION!!! You are NOT the ONLY person on the road...my husband and kids are on the roads daily, I do NOT want to lose ANY one of them to someone who thought it was 'urgent' to respond to a text, or what ever else you are doing while driving...IT'S NOT WORTH SOMEONE LOSING THEIR LIFE BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!!!
        • 2 Years Ago
        Great saying! It might be more meaningful if it were on your bumper to encourage others to think, rather than your frige. :)
          • 2 Years Ago
          But if it was on her bumper then people would be reading it and not paying attention to driving their vehicle and they could cause a wreck.
        Tigger's Daddy.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Does heaven even accept people that are stupid enough to Text and Drive .
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