Text Less, Live More, a campaign to get students to think twice before driving distracted, made its way to Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville Monday. Anna and Richard Levitan shared the story of daughter, Merritt Levitan, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver at the age of eighteen.
“She was a great student. A great athlete, a wonderful older sister,” says Anna Levitan of her late daughter.
Text less Live More aims to prevent deaths like Merritt’s among youngsters, encouraging students to avoid distracted driving and talk about it with friends.
“It’s up to them along with support to change behaviors. So that no other family goes through what we did,” adds Anna. Richard adds that “[he] wants them to understand what four seconds means.”
Sergeant Charles Jones of the Trumann Police Department says the aftermath of distracted driving accidents is just as heart-wrenching for public safety officials.
“There’s a lot of things that we see, that we cannot un-see. There’s a lot of things that we smell, that we cannot un-smell,” says Jones. “And there’s things that we hear that we cannot un hear. And that’s the screeching we here when a mother finds out her child has died. That we can’t unhear.”
Marie McGrath of the Text Less Live More organization looks forward to putting an end to the distracted driving and living epidemic.
“We believe that through dialogue, education and behavioral change it’s possible,” says McGrath. “You can take the pledge; you can schedule a presentation. You can get involved in one of our monthly initiatives.”
Students like Tyasia King are already behind it. Her reason is “If you drive, not distracted, you can pay attention closely to the road, and protect yourself and others.”