We’re All At Risk When We Text Behind The Wheel
Six years ago, Tasha Hairston-Springs sent a text that almost ended her life and changed the lives of her children forever. She has spent every day since then advocating for all drivers – no matter how old and experienced – to put their phones away behind the wheel.
“I’ve become an advocate against distracted driving,” Tasha says. “The culture around how we use our cellphones has to change or more and more people will get injured or even worse they will die or kill someone. This change won’t happen overnight, as studies are showing that cellphone use has become an addiction.”
On a routine drive to the Outlet Mall in Mebane, NC, Tasha texted back and forth with her daughter about a cell-phone bill. Though she knew better than to text and drive, she deemed the act harmless because she was driving alone and thus not setting a bad example for her children.
Suddenly, she grazed an overpass on the left median and saw sparks begin to fly. She hit another vehicle which threw her forward and partially out her window. She became unconscious from bumping her head and was then dragged by her SUV down the road. Tasha awoke in the ICU to the astounding sound of her heartbeat that told her she was still alive.
She would later learn that emergency personnel first took her to Alamance Regional and put her on life support to assist with her ability to breathe while they stitched her hanging lip back to her mouth. Once her lip was intact, Tasha was transferred via helicopter to another hospital because the trauma to her body was too much for the first hospital to handle. She had lost 8% of her body’s skin.
Today, Tasha lacks skin, muscle and tissue on parts of her body, her fingerprints and her ear because of a text message. She has had reconstructive surgery for five years to continue to fix her damage and chronic pain. What’s worse is that once she was stable, Tasha learned that she hit a vehicle carrying two people on the road. Thankfully, they were only treated for minor injuries. Tasha now suffers from PTSD that she developed in the hospital due to her severe trauma coupled with the weight of what she caused.
It is thinking about how bad the consequences could have been that motivates Tasha to share her story and plead with all motorists to put down their phones.
“I have to live my life everyday knowing that I hurt people,” she said. “Because of my selfish decision people got hurt. Don’t be like me, put your phones down and just drive. Texting is risky business. The life you save will be your own.”
The message she wants to promote above all: Anyone can fall victim to distracted driving.
“I was just like you. I didn’t believe it would happen to me. I thought it only happened to other people because I was a pro. I had done it for years. A little swerve here, a little swerve there. Never thought about the swerve that was waiting to kill me.”
Join the discussion @textingisriskybusiness on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find Tasha on LinkedIn @ Latasha Hairston Springs. Tasha is currently writing a book titled “Texting is Risky Business” that she hopes to have published in late March. She is available to speak at events and her contact info can be found on her social sites. She is also developing a mindfulness program – Mindfully Aware Drivers (M.A.D) A message from Tasha: “I’m counting my blessings everyday. Thank you for your time. Be safe, not selfish. Drive smart, have a heart.”