Piece of Mind
Distracted driver runs, head-on, into a reality check
It was June 1996, in Bethany, Oklahoma. Jesa Lopez, 16, was driving home from some forgotten destination. She was just a few blocks from home when her pager chirped.
A rising senior at Bethany High School, Lopez had a lot to look forward to. The popular teen had placed tenth in a national dance competition and was looking forward to a tryout with a touring dance troupe.
Lopez bobbled the pager and when she reached to retrieve it, she took her eyes off the road.
Police say her 1989 Pontiac LeMans crossed the center line on N.W. 50th and hit a van traveling in the opposite direction. Lopez’s right side was crushed. Her ankle, hips, pelvis, ribs, and arm were broken. Her lungs and bladder were punctured and her stomach was torn. The front of her skull was fractured, her brain was swollen and exposed, and her neck was broken.
The driver of the van she hit, a local minister, suffered only minor injuries.
Doctors told Jesa’s mother she wouldn’t live through the night, and that, if she did, she might be in a coma for the rest of her life. She did wake up, however, and fought her way back, regaining the ability to think, although she would never walk again.
It took Jesa most of the next 16 years to come to terms with life in a wheelchair. She is still, after all, the same girl who, in middle school, tried out for the football team because she was told girls weren’t allowed.
These days she is an outspoken advocate for the handicapped. And she is using her story, and her platform as the recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma, to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.
TBS Factoring is backing Jesa in her bid to become Ms Wheelchair America, and we wanted to share her message as part of our ongoing campaign to protect and defend our clients on the road.
Effective January 3, 2012, all CDL holders engaged in interstate commerce, and all drivers transporting placarded hazardous materials are prohibited from dialing or holding a cell phone.
|Drivers can initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button on a mobile phone, earpiece, steering wheel, or instrument panel.|
|Wired earpieces are allowed, but most drivers choose to go with wireless Bluetooth.|
|It is up to individual states to enforce this law, and enforcement will vary, but with fines approaching $3,000, you’re better safe than sorry.|
At TBS, we’re all about safety. We think the hands-free requirement for commercial drivers is a step in the right direction and we look forward to a day when the same standard is applied to all drivers.
If cash flow has become a distraction for you in this economy, TBS Factoring can help. We’re a family business that provides flexible cash flow solutions to independent owner operators. To find out how we can help you, call us at 800-207-7661.
LOOK FOR THIS ARTICLE IN THE SUMMER ISSUE (JUNE) TRANSCORE LOCATION DIRECTORY