Realize the dangers of texting and driving

Published 7:01 am Sunday, April 19, 2015

QUESTION:  How do we get drivers of all ages to stop minimizing the danger of texting and driving?

ANSWER: Law Enforcement and Safe Roads Community Coalitions keep trying to effectively use education and enforcement to increase the understanding that using cell phones while driving has now become as dangerous as drinking alcohol and driving — and causes the same kind of sorrow

Perhaps reading Deej Logan’s story will persuade a few more people to put their cell phones away when driving.

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Deej Logan’s first day of her senior year in high school in 2012 started at 6:30 a.m. with her cell phone showing the exclamation points and smiley face she had typed on it. The 17-year-old’s life ended because she decided to type a text message on her phone while driving behind a school bus on her way home.

Her father, driving home north of Byron, came upon the crash scene;  the medical helicopter was at the site. Cars were stopped and Matt Logan asked the Sheriff directing traffic what had happened; he knew his daughter could have been driving ahead of him on that road. He was told to wait in the car. He was praying it wasn’t Deej, but then another officer came to his car and began asking the kind of questions that made him realize that it actually was Deej.

It took an hour for the emergency workers to extract Deej Logan from her vehicle and get her into the helicopter. Matt Logan phoned his wife and other family members to meet him at St. Marys’ hospital in Rochester.

They waited in the emergency room while the doctors tried to save Deej and then had to hear the horrible news that there was nothing that could medically be done; Deej’s life couldn’t be saved.  The family gathered around their barely recognizable dying daughter.

More than 200 friends were gathering at the hospital to show their support for her; instead Deej’s mother had the duty of telling them to say their goodbyes to her.  Deej Logan took her last breath at 8:51 p.m. that day.

It took nearly 5 weeks for the crash investigation to be completed.  No alcohol.  No drugs. No erratic driving.  While Deej Logan had always coached others to never text and drive, a text message not yet sent, and still being composed, was on her phone.

Looking down and typing on her cell phone, she had slammed into the back of the school bus that had stopped to drop off two children. “My daughter made a choice to be distracted.  An accident?  No, a decision,” said her devastated father, Matt Logan.

April is “It Can Wait – Don’t Drive Distracted” Month. Check out, the Safe Roads webpage, and “Not So Fast” (Hollister) at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street SE, Austin).