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Browns: Don’t drive under the influence of your social life

April 14, 2012

Jeanne, Johnny Mac, and Katrina Brown were on the campus of Frank Phillips College Thursday afternoon representing the Remember Alex Brown Foundation and warning listeners of the danger of texting while driving. PHOTO BY DON RICE

Why would a wrecked pickup truck be pulled around the country with bumper stickers that read B.U.S.T (Buckle-Up, Stop Texting) or TXT & DRVNG - KLLER IDEA?
The R.A.B.. (Remember Alex Brown Foundation) is being promoted nationwide by her parents and sister. Johnny Mac, Jeanne Brown and their younger daughter Katrina delivered a heart-wrenching presentation to the public Thursday afternoon at Frank Phillips College.
The Brown Family, from Wellman, Texas, near Brownfield, have been featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
The family’s nightmare began when 17 year old Alex, a senior in high school and Salutatorian of her 2010 graduation class, was killed while texting and driving and not wearing a seat belt on November 10, 2009.
Jeanne (mom) could not reach her by cell phone and began looking for her. Her instinct was to look on the old highway that Alex was not supposed to use. Consequently, she happened upon the wreck. Alex’s truck had rolled twice, once over Alex who was thrown from the truck through the passenger window. Alex was lying in the grass on the other side. As Jeanne waited for the Air Life Flight to arrive at the scene, she also called Alex’s father, Johnny Mac, who arrived before the helicopter. Jeanne and Johnny Mac could only hold each other and pray.
Johnny Mac has always called his Blackberry phone a “crack-berry” because everyone who has a cell phone becomes addicted. Johnny Mac’s message is to us is “We do not take time to STOP!” As his business is mainly conducted from his vehicle, he has always talked, texted, and set-up his day mentally while driving.
After the loss of his precious daughter, he began pulling over to the side of the road and realized it only took three minutes. “Do not drive under the influence of your social life!” exclaimed Johnny Mac Brown.
A website called distraction.gov explains the extreme dangers of texting while driving. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety.
These types of distractions include texting, using a cell phone or smart phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading (including maps), using a navigation system, watching a video or adjusting a radio, CD Player or MP3 Player.
Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
Alex’s 14 year old sister, Katrina, was only 11 years old when her sister, her role model, her closest friend was killed. The horror of the incident was so overwhelming that Katrina stayed with her aunt because she could not bear sleeping in her bedroom without Alex in the next room.
Even getting ready for school was painful because Katrina suddenly had no one to bicker with over the mirror. Katrina challenged all of us, “Look at the last text message you received and then decide if it would be worth dying over!”
Jeanne Brown asked every teenager to make a decision and let their parents know! If, in fact ,the decision is, “I choose to text”, then YOU must tell YOUR family:
I have increased my health insurance so I can be airlifted to the hospital and after four futile hours I will die at a minimum cost of $150,000.
I have also increased my life insurance to cover the costs of a very stylish funeral. As I would like to go out in style, I have picked out my casket, the limousine, the grave site, my favorite flowers and colors. I have talked with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and all my “bf” about who will do what at the funeral.
Last but not least, I have gone shopping for a grave marker and have given the company the epitaph I want engraved.
For more information about the R.A.B. Foundation, log on to www.rememberalexbrownfoundation.org
To keep safe behind the wheel, there are some apps to help you do just that, DriveSafe.ly is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone. Texttoggle.com will automatically block calls. PhoneGuard.com blocks your key pad when you are driving over 10 mph.

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