Pittsfield students hear from a survivor

Young drivers hear it all the time 'don't text while you drive'.

But sometimes they need to hear it from someone they can relate to, to really understand the dangers of distracted driving.

"I feel like with me sitting here being 17 years old it's like a reality check," said Taylor Cooper, a texting while driving car accident survivor. "That could be you tomorrow, when you leave school today that could be you. "

Last year at this time Taylor Cooper was playing softball against Pittsfield High School students, but now she's talking to them from a wheel chair about the consequences of texting while driving.

"I'm here to say don't do it you are pretty much just like me and I could be just like you if I hadn't text and drove,'" said Cooper.

On July 5, 2011 Cooper was driving to meet her family at the river when she received a text message from her boyfriend. In that split moment she looked down at her phone she lost control of her car and it hit a telephone pole. Cooper was trapped in the car for three hours before she was found. The accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.

"It's any eye opener because everybody does it," said Dylan Reel, a Pittsfield High School junior. "You think not everybody is going to get hurt but eventually it will hurt them."

"All of this kind of stuff scared me to text and drive, which is a good thing because then I'm not taking that risk," said Alyssa Heavner, a Pittsfield High School junior.

And for Cooper, having students not even take the risk of texting and driving is exactly what she wants.

"I had girls coming up to me afterwards that I didn't even know that said 'I want to give you a hug, your story really impacted me,'" said Cooper. "And that's what I came here to do today so I'm glad."

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