FRANÇAIS
National Day of Rememberance for Road Crash Victims

Remembering road crash victims

 

Distracted Driving: texting behind the wheel

The Souliere family of Pembroke, Ontario, knows the heartache of losing a beloved family member as the result of a preventable road crash involving texting. Damon Souliere, 18, died tragically when his vehicle crossed a highway centre line and collided with a tractor-trailer, which tried to avoid him. An infantryman with the Canadian Forces, he had been distracted by sending and receiving a text while driving.

Family and friends remember Damon as a vibrant and responsible young man who wanted to serve overseas with the Canadian military. Damon also left an indelible impression on his teachers and fellow students at his high school, from which he had recently graduated. They recall his academic and athletic excellence, and described him as mature beyond his years. Damon was the captain of his rugby team and was ready to begin university in September; he had his whole life planned out. He was also recognized as a selfless and compassionate person – one who had once come to the aid of a fellow motorist whose car was engulfed in flames.

Damon’s family, many friends and their families showed support and caring as he was given a full military funeral from his co-workers who were also his good friends.

While they are infinitely proud of their son and brother, more than anything now the Souliere family says they want others to learn from Damon’s tragic mistake and are spreading the message: Don’t text and drive.

Safety tips and distraction prevention:

Operating a vehicle requires a driver's full attention and concentration. A driver's primary responsibility is the safe operation of their vehicle.
Transport Canada advises drivers to avoid using any device that may take their attention away from the road. This includes texting and the use of cell phones and other portable wireless communication devices.
Here are some tips to lower your distractibility while driving. If you are a driver you should:

  • focus on your driving;
  • never talk or text on your cell phone while driving;
  • before you drive, turn off your phone or set the ringer to "mute" and put your phone away;
  • use voice mail and call back later when you are not driving;
  • set a navigation system only when the vehicle is stopped ;
  • do not use radio/CD channel surf, eat, drink, or comb your hair while driving;
  • always follow the driving laws where you drive; and
  • drive defensively; even if you are not distracted, others may be.

To take action to “give up the habit,” join forces with your friends and families by taking the “Leave the Phone Alone” pledge at www.leavethephonealone.ca. The pledge is part of a national public awareness campaign organized by the Canadian Global Road Safety committee to increase driver safety.