Survivor Of Distracted Driving Crash Speaks Out

Encourages people of all ages to avoid distracted driving

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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'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.

Share This Photo X