Put It Down, Save A Life

Warning: Post contains a fairly graphic video which I found hard to watch. Please do not watch if you have a sensitivity to blood or even fake blood.

I want you to watch this video. It is important.

My eldest son whose poem I put up a few nights ago goes to school in the district I graduated from-Mansfield Independent School District. MISD has this program for the juniors and seniors of all the high schools in their area called the Put It Down, Save A Life program. (You can find out more about the program here.) This program is designed to show real-life consequences of texting/drinking while driving. But it is not aimed at just the kids; parents are involved as well. The parents not only watch the staged wreck but they also must write an obituary for their child. The police department, fire department, Care Flight, hospitals, teachers…the community is involved in this program. If you watched the video you saw what it is like. Parents can opt their kid out of the program-it is not required.

My son does not live with me anymore, and has not for the last year and a half. He chose to live with his dad thirty minutes away. He does not yet drive and I’m glad about it for one reason only. I was almost 19 when I officially got my driver’s license. I was young enough to appreciate it but old enough to recognize the responsibility of being behind the wheel of a dangerous object. Within months of receiving my license I had my first “wreck.” It was on an especially busy street at night and I had my baby sister in the car with me. We were stopped at a red light when I was rear-ended by some man in a truck. He was tired. He may have had a drink or two. There wasn’t any damage other than a few scrapes to my bumper. But it scared the hell out me. Then several years later, a cousin of mine was hit and killed by a drunk driver. My cousin had just graduated high school that morning…two days later he received an acceptance letter to the tech school he had applied to. I’m glad my son hasn’t had the ability to drive yet because it is a dangerous thing walking out your front door.

My son is glad as well. He is only just feeling ready to accept the responsibility. He has told me many times he’s terrified to get behind the wheel of a car. I jokingly tell him to make sure he sits inside the car then, but I understand what he means. I am terrified of him getting in the driver’s seat myself. I have no fear of him texting on his phone. He’s the one who takes my phone from me whenever I go to reach for it when all I am doing is hitting the fast forward button for my music. No, I don’t text and drive and I only answer my phone for certain people, though I do try and pull over in a safe zone when I must. What I fear, and what I tell him and everyone else, is that I’m afraid of the other drivers on the road. I have been in so many near misses because of people on their phones, people being impatient, or people just not paying close enough attention. And even though my son knows how dangerous it is to text and drive, I would still make him go through this program because I feel that sometimes it’s not enough to just “know.” Until you experience something first-hand, you don’t truly understand the depth of that experience.

Even if I have to write an obituary for my son…

Even if I can imagine how hard it would be having never done it before…

Because I have not lost a child and do not know what that is like…

Because I have been afraid of losing my children every day since the day they were born.

 

-Jesi

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13 comments on “Put It Down, Save A Life”

  1. Amber says:

    Well said. You know where I stand on this matter (I think lol). I’m going to re-blog this as soon as I get the chance.

    1. Jessica says:

      A friend of mine from elementary and high school has a daughter that they are thinking about putting through the program and she and her husband aren’t sure they can handle it. It’s so much more emotional on the parents’ side. But I think it’s so important to get the message out. So reblog away!

  2. lrconsiderer says:

    Horrific but so important to share. In England, being on your phone whilst driving is an immediately arrestable offense, as I understand it.

    1. Jessica says:

      Lizzi, I wish the US would do that here. For the time being it is completely up to each individual state to decide what to do about it. Drunk driving, if it’s a first offense is basically a slap on the wrist unless someone is killed. Texting is just as dangerous if not more so since almost EVERYONE uses a cell phone. And I’ve seen hands-free be just as dangerous.

      1. lrconsiderer says:

        We’re not even allowed to eat behind the wheel…

        1. Jessica says:

          Yeah, that is strict but I understand why. It is a distraction, too.

          1. lrconsiderer says:

            They would rather err on the side of extreme caution for the sake of the severity of impact, should it come to it.

            1. Jessica says:

              I totally get it…It only took one severe wreck for me to realize the importance of safety belts and make me glad I was completely OCD about them.

  3. Its illegal here in the UK to use your mobile if your engine is running even if you’re parked. It doesn’t stop everyone from doing it and the parked part seems a bit over the top but the message is out there about the dangers. Just before Christmas the level of acceptable alcohol/blood ratio was lowered further and people now have to be aware that they might be over the limit even into the next day. The risks of driving nowadays, given the volume of traffic on the roads, are high enough without additional factors, so this is a really worthwhile message.

    1. Jessica says:

      I REALLY wish the US would adopt this viewpoint! Currently, each state is responsible for cell phone policy. In Texas, there are certain cities that have decided their own policies as well. However, the majority of the state has no laws about it other than there is NO cell phone use within school zones. Still, that is only a slap on the wrist. It is a minimum $250 fine. Not that everyone can afford that but really, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. I do know that the propostion to make cell phone use illegal while driving is still making its way within the Texas legislature but it has been YEARS there already. And people are still dying while it waits there.
      And this is really a no-brainer. My biggest thought about it is that there is NO emergency that can’t wait until you can pull over safely. And how many times have you wished that you could have pushed off bad news for just a few minutes longer?
      I enjoy my cell phone…but it’s not worth losing a life.

  4. Ali says:

    I am a yearly speaker at PIDSAL in the Mansfield Independent School District. My best friend and I were part of the very first program in 1998. I am one of the victim impact speakers. My best friend was killed by a drunk driver when we were 21 in 2000. I am so proud if how this program has grown since 1998. Thank you for contining to spread the word and teaching your son to be responsible. That means that telling Michelle’s story and her legacy are more than just her death. She is continuing to change lives, just as she always did. ❤️

    1. Jesi says:

      Hi Ali! Thank you so much for commenting. Yes, your friend’s legacy means so much. And I’m sure she’d be proud of you for speaking on her behalf. Being a parent means more than just telling your kids what not to do and hoping they get it. It means being their example and I hope my kids see how much I love them through my actions, through trying to show them that their well-being is important to me. Teaching is half the job; leading by example is the rest.

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