Texas college student Chance Bothe’s last words prior to driving his truck off a cliff were in the form of a text message: “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.”He miraculously survived, but Bothe’s story has become an ironic example of the dangers of texting while driving.
By now, most drivers are at least somewhat aware that texting and driving is not a winning combination. From states outlawing text use while driving, to the highway billboards across the country urging drivers to just focus on the road, to statistics related to texting-related crashes, there are plenty of warnings to suggest that we probably shouldn’t do it.
And, yet, we often do it anyway.
It was last January that Bothe’s truck flew off a bridge and plummeted into a ravine, and the 21-year-old has spent the last six months in intense recovery in the hospital. According to WAFF, Bothe had a “broken neck, a crushed face, a fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries.” He also had to have doctors bring him back to life three times.
“My face was broken from my cheekbones all the way up,” Bothe told the New York Daily News. Bothe even had to learn how to speak again.
Now, Bothe believes it’s his mission to urge other drivers to stop texting, lest they wish to experience a similar fate. “I know I died like three times but God didn’t keep me away from coming back here,” he told ABC 13. “I have a higher purpose in being here. And I think it’s to tell everyone not to text message and drive.
“Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” he told ABC 13.
According to Distraction.gov, 3,092 people in 20110 were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver—a driver who was either texting, eating, adjusting their radio, or talking on their cell phone. 416,000 people were injured in accidents from these same types of distractions.
A study by Car and Driver Magazine in 2009 pitted the dangers of texting while driving against the effects of driving drunk to see which would be more dangerous, under the same conditions. Measuring the time it takes to brake after being alerted by a red light to stop, the reaction time was recorded for when legally drunk, reading email, and sending a text. Texting, by far, elicited the slowest response time.
It will take awhile for texting to garner the same social stigma as drinking and driving, but Bothe hopes his story can be a cautionary tale that it’s just not worth it.