Sask. mother of teen killed while driving distracted in 2018 continues to speak out
SASKATOON -- In August 2018, Sandra LaRose learned her 17-year-old daughter Kailynn died in a crash where distracted driving was a factor.
LaRose has been vocal ever since, warning people about the dangers of distracted driving, hoping to convince others to put down their phones.
“There is nothing that is that important, there is nothing more important than life. By glancing down at the wrong second you could lose everything,” LaRose told CTV.
Despite the numbers of distracted drivers going down in 2020 compared to previous years, LaRose said she still sees people on their phones a lot while she is out and about, and she tries to do what she can to change people’s minds.
“I will call people out on it. Most people will get angry, and I just mention Kailynn’s name or show them her picture, and immediately you can see the change of attitude on their face,” said LaRose.
“I shouldn’t have to push Kailynn’s picture in peoples faces for them to realize. People are smart, use your brains, use your head. You cannot drive and talk on the phone and not be distracted.”
LaRose is hoping the warnings to people will reduce the amount of mothers getting calls that their child isn’t coming home.
“I bought an urn instead of a grad dress, its as simple as that. Instead of paying for a wedding I paid for a funeral, there’s no sugar-coating it, she’s gone, she’s dead and its because of a phone.”
LaRose’s words come as SGI turns its focus to distracted driving and drowsy driving for the month of March.
“Distracted driving continues to be a problem in our province. We saw 3,000 collisions last year in which distracted driving was a factor,” said Jennifer Sully, an SGI communications consultant.
“Distracted driving is one of the main things causing collisions on our roads.”
Last year in February the province increased the fines for distracted driving, with the first ticket now costing $580 and four demerit points.
Although the main culprit for distracted driving is phone use, SGI says it is also trying to bring attention to the dangers of driving without due care, which in many cases involves distractions such as eating, pets, or drowsiness.
“If you are tired behind the wheel it can impact your reaction time, it can impact your awareness behind the wheel, it can even impact your judgment behind the wheel,” Sully told CTV.
“If you’re feeling like your eyelids are pretty heavy, if you don’t remember the last few kilometres of your drive, or you’re not noticing vehicles until they’ve passed you. These are all indicators that it might be time to take a break.”
SGI said drowsy driving was responsible for 173 collisions, 74 injuries, and two deaths in 2020.