Teens learn grim lesson on distracted driving

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Teenagers in the Kansas City metro received life-saving lessons through The Research Foundation's RoadWise Program.

Each year, more teen drivers are caught driving while distracted the RoadWise program offers teens a first-hand look at what could happen. 

Participants toured the emergency room, radiology department and the intensive care unit of Research Medical Center for a behind the scenes look at what happens after someone is in a car accident.

Malaya Turner is a sophomore at St. Pius. She's only 15, but her parents wanted her to go through the program before she got her license.

"This is a point of view that I barely ever see," Turner said.

Sixteen local students faced the grim realities of distracted driving, but perhaps the toughest lesson came from the Heather Tice and Sarah Snyder. Both women suffered permanent spinal cord injuries in car accidents as teenagers.

"Three weeks in the ICU for me was touch and go," Tice said. "We were going about 70 when we hit the tree (and) since were weren't seat belted in, I was thrown all over the back seat."

Sarah Snyder lost the function of her legs at the age of 17 .

"I got flung out of that car just like a rag doll, and when I landed on the ground, my back instantly snapped and I was paralyzed from the waist down," Snyder said.

Heather and Sarah are committed to raising awareness when it comes to distracted driving.

According to AAA, distracted driving contributes to more than 5,000 traffic fatalities a year and now exceeds drunk driving deaths. Numbers these ladies hope to change by sharing their stories.

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