We’d venture to say most drivers have allowed themselves to be distracted while behind the wheel, taking their eyes off the road for “just a second” to change the radio station, answer a call or even respond to an important text.
We hope Kerry Houlihan’s heart-wrenching story on the front page of the March 3 Journal will get everyone to think twice about multitasking while behind the wheel – because it just isn’t worth it. Houlihan was an active wife and mother, walking her dog near her home about a year ago when she was struck by a vehicle, dragged for several feet and then struck a second time. She sustained massive, life-threatening injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, a damaged spinal cord and the loss of her left leg below the knee.
Two witnesses said the driver appeared to be texting when she swerved out of her lane, over the curb, onto the sidewalk and into Houlihan. She told police she had started to “mess around” with the stereo dial. A grand jury recently indicted her on a charge of great bodily injury by vehicle/reckless driving, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
Houlihan, meanwhile, can no longer clothe and clean herself, attend to her toileting, read a newspaper, help her daughter with homework or even hold a spoon. Her life has been devastated by a distracted driver. And regardless of what happens to that driver, Houlihan’s life will never be the same.
We should all take that into consideration the next time we’re driving and tempted to text, answer a call or even mess around with the stereo dial.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.