Cady Anne Reynolds (C.A.R.) was a giving and energetic young person who like many young people had a very bright future in front of her. She was the oldest of five children, she worked hard for her grades, and volunteered at a local hospital and other community organizations. Her dream was to become a doctor and serve underprivileged people, especially young children.
Like all 16-year-olds, getting her license was a significant event for Cady; one that came with responsibilities and rules along with the freedom of making her own choices. While driving a friend home from a movie on the evening of May 30, 2007 her car was struck by a distracted 16 year old driver as she entered an intersection. The weather conditions were clear, the other driver was not impaired by drugs or alcohol- it was simply a matter of a young driver being distracted, missing a red traffic light & seeing the cars that were moving in their path. This is called “inattention blindness” by researches and it can be easily caused by a number of distractions including cell phones and passengers.
Cady’s brain was severely traumatized in the collision and she died just hours later. In the months that followed there were other crashes that were very similar; most involving young drivers, all resulting in at least one death and all seemingly highly preventable.
It was for this reason that the C.A.R. Alliance for Safer Teen Driving was formed as an organization that specifically addresses distracted driving as a major cause of preventable crashes, and to appeal to all drivers to eliminate distractions as they drive for the sake of victims like Cady, and for their own safety and well being too.
Through teaching about the science of distractions and sharing Cady’s own story, we hope to change minds and attitudes of drivers as they make the sometimes life and death decisions to either stay alert or allow a distraction to take over.
Crashes are the number 1 killer of teens (14-19) in the US and distractions are the present in nearly 60% of all teen crashes. We can do better teaching new drivers, and adults can do much more to curb their own distracted driving.
Now in our 9th year we have reached over 25 thousand teens
and adults with our programs and message, and have partnered with law enforcement, safety officials and law makers to help create awareness and change.
Cady’s story was chosen to represent the ‘Save 11’ campaign sponsored by Allstate which strove to set national standards for graduated licensing laws across the US. C.A.R. was also chosen for the OPPD Service to Community Safety Award in 2010 by the Nebraska Safety Council. C.A.R. also collaborated with the Neb. Safety Council and other community safety leaders to establish June 29th as “National Cell-Off Day” in Nebraska to continue to raise awareness here at home.
To help raise awareness nationally, C.A.R. has spoken in Washington DC at the Department of Transportation with Former Secretary Ray LaHood; has testified locally for the texting ban in Nebraska’s Unicameral, and spoken out about the issue across the US. CAR has been featured in many local and national media as well to raise awareness for the issue and call for an end to cell phone use by drivers of all vehicles. Cady’s story is featured on the DOT’s ‘Faces of Distracted Driving‘ series and the National Safety Council’s video series on distracted driving, and the Donate Life Nebraska series highlighting individuals who made the choice to donate organs, bone and tissue in the event of death. C.A.R. was also featured in the NETV documentary about distracted driving in 2014.
Distracted driving ends when we all stand together, an alliance of teens and adults, and say “I will do my part to not drive distracted because it’s the right thing to do.”
To get a free, personalized ‘Pledge to End My Own Distracted Driving’ by going here.
To donate to C.A.R. and help us continue the mission, go to our home page and click on the “Donate” button.