The Matzav Shmoooze: You Almost Ran My Family Over Today

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text-messageDear frum teenage girl, driving a minivan through the intersection of Bainbridge and Staunton at 1:15pm today,I know that life as a teenager is difficult (what teenager’s life isn’t?), and I know that you have a lot on your mind. But when we were stopped at the stop sign today on Bainbridge and you were driving on Staunton, you were too busy to see our car.

You didn’t see our car because you were texting. I saw it with my own eyes from the passenger seat of our minivan, already stopped at the corner. Your head was down, your fingers fast at work. You coasted to a kind-of stop, all the while never looking up.

And you know what? You were still texting as you took your foot off the brake and put it on the gas, driving straight through the intersection. STILL TEXTING! STILL NOT LOOKING!

If you had looked up, you would have seen us.

If you had looked up, you would have known that we had the right of way.

If we had intended to go straight, and my husband wasn’t a careful driver, you would have
plowed right into us (ch”v).

If you did hit us, you know what you would have hit? My 10 month old baby was snug in his car seat on the side of the car facing yours. He’s so little. He’s so precious. He was in your direct line of impact.

You know what else you would have hit? Me. I was sitting in the passenger seat, directly opposite you. I’m the only breadwinner currently for my family. Without my salary, lo aleinu, we wouldn’t have enough money to pay our bills. I’m the mother to my children who are so young and need their mother so much. We literally cannot afford for anything to happen to me.

And what about my two year old daughter? In the other bucket seat next to my baby. Surely she would have felt your negligence.

And my husband – he would have been tormented by guilt for the rest of his life, always thinking if he could have done something different to prevent the accident you caused from occurring.

How could you think that whatever you were texting – to whoever was receiving the text – could be more important than the lives and wellbeing of an entire family?? I know – you didn’t think. You didn’t think because you’re a teenager and that’s not what teenagers do well.

But you should think. You should think of the danger you are putting yourself and everyone around you in: your neighbors, friends, and family. How could you have so little regard for Klal Yisroel and human life in general?? At the very least, you should think of how causing a fatal crash (ch”v) could put you in jail for a long time, if not forever.

If I had had the presence of mind at that moment at 1:15pm, I would have told my husband to honk the horn until you pulled over so I could tell you all this in person. But I was too shocked to do anything and you had already driven on…still texting, still not looking up at the road and the cars around you.

Teenage girl, I don’t know who you are, but I hope you read this and start to think about how texting and driving just don’t mix. I hope you never do it again.

Today you got lucky. Today, H-shem was watching over all of us. Tomorrow, however, might be a different story, ch”v. I can only daven for you that your terrible judgment never catches up with you.

Signed with anger, disappointment, shock and love,
Your neighbor, her husband, their two year old daughter and 10 month old son

{Local Jewish News}

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The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on Matzav.com that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to editor@matzav.com.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

37 COMMENTS

  1. I feel for you and understand your frustration but you needed to take action to try to prevent this from happening again. You should have gotten the license number or at least followed the girl and screamed at her.
    You then should have taken down her address and spoken to her parents. While this might seem harsh – she almost killed you and your family. This girl is probably not going to even see this letter – most teenage girls are not hanging around on this website.
    One more point…if you are the breadwinner of the family (as many kolel wives are) you must get life insurance. I did it when I was the breadwinner and it is very important.
    Much Hatzlocha to you and your precious family.

  2. Your ten month old child shouldn’t be on a side seat, he should be strapped in the middle seat in case of an accident like the one you’ve described!

  3. Besides the blogs, maybe Hatzolah needs to start a campaign blitz to get this message out repeatedly. Or if not Hatzola, then someone who can reach large numbers of people effectively. Or, I hate to say this, maybe Facebook where the teens will surely see it? We need reminders of this message as texting is still so popular.

  4. AT&T has a documentary called “The Last Text” describing the horrible accidents and lives ruined caused by texting drivers. Nobody should be driving while using a cell phone in any capacity.

  5. Adult drivers are ROLE MODELS to young, new, inexperienced drivers. Adults stop talking on phone, checking blackberry, buckle up seat belts and be a Strong Role Model to your soon-2-b drivers.

  6. Sad situation. Not just Teens, and not just Frum ones either.

    To # 2. A Wife is worth a lot of $$, even if she isn’t the breadwinner. Sum up Cleaning help, babysitters, cooking help, lost wages (loss of income- if self employed) trying to be home for the kids. If he remarries, gets more kids, needs a bigger house, and some $ to smooth things over.

    Disclaimer – I DON’T sell Life Insurance. I did buy a policy on my Wife the same amount I bought on myself.

  7. I know of a frum girl going to jail guilty of manslaughter at the age of 18 because she killed someone while texting!!!!!!! Why isn’t this written up in any frum publications????? This is real life and it can happen to anyone.

  8. #3 I believe that you are supposed to put car seats on the side as the are prevented from being thrown through the windshield in the event of the collision.

    Regarding the story above, definitely more has to be done. Not only regarding texting but also talking on the cell phone is more dangerous than drunk driving.
    When I am by a red light and I see someone in the car next to me talking on their cell phone, I usually signal to them to put it down.

  9. what a loser? do you really have nothing better to do than kvetch? if you are so offended that she did not give you right of way, kvetch to your husband. i’m sure he’s used to your nagging by now.

  10. Hey! I used to live in Cleve Hts. There should have been a cop giving out tickets at that intersection. that’s how they made a lot of money from the frum community there!

  11. dont know if it’s right to make a swipe at all teenagers “they dont think well”-i have teenagers that think very well-i understand your frustration and anger-i do question YOUR thinking ability by not following her and making sure SHE and HER PARENTS knew what happened-how will you feel if someone does get injured by this girl?-she is not reading things like this-she is busy texting-next ;time, do your part and confront her!!!!!!!

  12. To Racytorah(?), dovy and Bruce,
    I have a feeling that none you don’t have anymore maturity than did the teenager in the above article. Grow up, and don’t get behind the wheel before and until you realize the gravity of the “texting while driving” danger. This warning is for your benefit as well as for all those people who take this story as lightly as you did. The girl going to jail because of manslaughter lives in my neighborhood. Maybe you should talk to HER – I’m sure she has something she can teach you about her experience!!! Hashem Yerachem!

  13. “A guy who works at Bryn Mawr Rehab said today they have 94 beds at the treatment facility, 16 of them brain trauma patients between the ages of 16-19. 11 of them girls. ALL 16 kids from texting and driving. And that’s just in our area. Young lives changed forever. Beyond tragic and unnecessary.” Copied this from a friend’s status today-important to pass along.

  14. To Racytorah(?), dovy and Bruce,
    I have a feeling that none of you have any more maturity than did the teenager in the above article. Grow up and don’t get behind the wheel of a car before and until you realize the gravity of the “texting while driving” danger. This warning is for YOUR benefit as well as for all of those people who take this story as lightly as you did. The girl who might end up in jail for manslaughter (because she was texting while driving) lives in my neighborhood. Maybe you should talk to HER – I”m sure she has something she can teach you about her experience! Hashem Yerachem!

  15. wow I live in Beachwood and it is no better there
    I think the rabonnim should get involved and issue a memo not to text and drive, then issue a memo not to drink before laining on shabbos which is an issue on itself. How many shuls have a kiddush club that drinks before they daven and lein? what is the purpose of going to shul if you are jsut gonna go home drunk and screamm at your wife?
    what are we showing ou kids>??

  16. #15 that’s ridiculous. A) child should be strapped in which would prevent flying through the windshield. B) Smashing into the headrest in front would be just as dangerous.

  17. RCM: Day to disconnect is very nice. As Rabbi Wallerstein said in today’s shiur, you have to change yourself, not your actions.

  18. I am sad to see that the level of comments on Matzav has gone so low. What happened to people watching themselves, especially during this time of year!

  19. When someone commits a serious moving violation with their car, the only thing that will help is to copy their license plate number and report it to the police. Maybe a big ticket will save their life/others’ lives some day. Many rabbonim say that it is a mitzvah to report traffic violators who endanger others to the police.
    I am surprised others haven’t suggested this, our lives are very important, right?

  20. I just rec’d a new case. Young girl hit client in the rear @ highway speed while texting. I don’t let my teenage drivers have cell phones

  21. COMMENT 24 HIT IT ON THE SPOT. IT IS BECAUSE SHULS LET THEIR MONEY PAYING MEMBERS USE THE HOLY SYNAGAGUE AS A BAR ON SHABBOS THAT ALLOWS THIS TO HAPPEN. wHEN OUR CHILDREN SEE THAT WE AS GROWN ADULTS DO NOT VALUE HUMAN LIFE AS THEY COME HOME FROM SHUL DRUNK ON SHABBOS MORNING, HOW CAN WE EXPECT OUR OWN CHILDREN TO OBEY THE LAWS WHEN THEIR FATHERS ARE OPENLY DISRESPECTING G-DS LAWS.WE SHOULD BE PUTTING PRESSURE ON OUR ROBBONIM TO PUT A STOP ON THESE KIDDUSH CLUBS FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL AND BRIING SOME RESPECT BACK TO OUR LIVES. wHAT DO YOU THINK?

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