Did you know that people who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash?
Texting takes your eyes off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds. That's like driving the length of a football field blindfolded if you're driving at 55 mph. We can give you all the statistics out there, but it's the stories of the victims, unfortunately, that will catch most attention.
Merry Dye came a long way this week to share her story with the Tri-State area. She's from Rogers, Ark., about six hours from Quincy.
"I received a phone call, when I was sitting at work, from my daughter's employer. They said, you need to call Mariah's phone, there's been an accident and someone will answer. So, when I called, it was the chaplain," Dye said.
Mariah West died at the young age of 18, a day before her high school graduation. She was on her way to a minor league baseball game, responding to a text message from the player who had invited her.
The text message she was responding to: "Where u at."
That's when her car struck a bridge, skidded on its roof along the side of the bridge before heading into oncoming traffic. Mariah was partially ejected from the car crushing her skull. She died eight days later, in May 2009.
Now, her mother has joined forces with organizations like AT&T to spread the message she lives everyday, without her daughter.
"We think everything is tied to that instant. But when we get the big picture, do they really need a reply instantly? No. If you pick up your phone and look at your average text, LOL, What's up, is any of that worth risking your life for? No. If she could have just gotten that big picture," Dye said.
You may have seen her in a new promotion for AT&T's "Texting and Driving, It Can Wait" campaign, showing the last words of that text message before Mariah died. She joins three other families in this documentary .
The message: No text is worth dying over.
Just let it ring and make the pledge on AT&T's "It can Wait" Website here .