Texting-and-driving survivor warns of distracted driving dangers

11 months 1 week 5 days ago Monday, November 07 2016 Nov 7, 2016 Monday, November 07, 2016 10:47:00 AM CST November 07, 2016 in News
By: Jacob Kornhauser, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

LA PLATA — Driving home from work in August, Aaron Thomas decided to change the song on his phone. He looked down to change it, and suddenly he was being launched through the air. 

"It was so scary. I thought I was going to die. I was coughing up blood, my arm folded in half, my eyes were black for a couple weeks," Thomas said. 

The distracted driving he was doing is only illegal in Missouri for people under 21 years old. Missouri is one of just four states that doesn't ban texting and driving for everyone. 

"I think the fact it's only illegal for people under 21 to be texting and driving is ludicrous," Thomas said. 

Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Columbia), who admits to having driven distracted in the past, said texting and driving is troublesome, but it's hard to control what people do on the roads. 

"I hate to admit it, but I have done it [driven distracted] myself," Basye said. 

"It is a problem and I don't know if legislation is going to fix it. It's almost impossible to legislate human behavior," he said.

Studies on texting and driving in other states with laws against it are inconclusive. Most states haven't had a law in place long enough to come up with meaningful results studying the effects of texting-and-driving laws on traffic safety. 

Mandy Kliethermes, a grant manager at MoDOT, said these laws are more about teaching the next generation of drivers to not drive distracted. 

"If you know it's illegal, if your children know it's not safe, then maybe they would have better practices as they become drivers too," Kliethermes said. 

Thomas agrees that just making a law against texting and driving doesn't mean people are going to listen to it. 

"There are other laws that people, unfortunately, don't listen to, so it's going to take more than that to convince people not to use their phones while driving," Thomas said. 

He said he prefers to share his story in order to convince others not to drive distracted and face what he did. 

"A lot of my friends have told me specifically, 'I saw what happened and I'm too afraid to use my phone now', which is great in my opinion," Thomas said. 

According to an NHTSA study, about 660,000 drivers were using their phones at any given time during daylight hours in the United States in 2012. The number of smart phones between then and now has nearly doubled.

Some in the Missouri legislature have tried to get a law passed which would ban all drivers from texting and driving, but they have failed. Most recently, Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) attempted to get a texting-and-driving law passed. He will reach his term limit before the next legislative session begins, so someone else will have to pick up the baton. 

Basye said with hot-button issues like this, someone will generally keep trying to get some form of legislation passed. 

"When somebody introduces legislation, they'll say something like 'this is the same bill we've heard the last four sessions' or something like that, so if somebody is very passionate about an issue, it might have a better chance to get rolling," Basye said. 

Thomas doesn't want to wait until the next legislative session to convince people to stop driving distracted. He wants to keep pounding the point home to people, so what happened to him, happens to less people in the future. 

"It was all because I wanted to hit 'next' on a Spotify song. It's not worth it for anybody, for their families, or for anyone, it's hard to think about. I really just wish people wouldn't do it," Thomas said. 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Boone and Callaway County has a new circuit judge. Judge J. Hasbrouck “Brouck” Jacobs will preside over... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri high school football teams are kicking off the final week of Friday Night Fever. In our FNF... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:51:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Fight for the First documentary was shown at the Missouri theatre for donors and students Friday. The film... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from the last week of the high school football season. Final scores will be in... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:27:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis has been sentenced to six and a half years... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:01:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - #MeToo started as a tweet and turned into an international discussion on sexual harassment. Columbia resident Macy... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia is attracting attention for its innovation in collegiate eSports. From having the first varsity collegiate all-woman eSports... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:45:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says the state no longer will make children in foster care pay... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:22:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
MEXICO – A former teacher pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of sexual contact with a student. Robert Cortez,... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - Namaste Health Care alerted 1,600 patients to a security breach that happened the weekend of Aug. 12-13. A... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin announced that October 20 th would be recognized every year as Buckle... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, city officials... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Volunteers from the city and community spent the day picking up litter, clearing branches and cleaning sidewalks in... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:55:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he sold heroin in the hospital maternity ward... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:48:59 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A jazz museum that's plagued by operating losses and bounced checks to musicians could be headed... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 12:39:06 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Relatives of man who died at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility are alleging that a fungus infected... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:55:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A 21-year-old man faces a handful of charges for allegedly stealing from a church and also stealing... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:47:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Two felons from Columbia were charged in federal court with illegally having guns and ammunition. Ladame Smith... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:19:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
4am 62°
5am 62°
6am 62°
7am 63°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00a
LX.TV: 1st Look
3:30a
LX.TV: 1st Look
4:00a
LX.TV: 1st Look
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

6:30p
College Football
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld