Texas A&M Agrilife Extension partnering with Allie’s Way for distracted driving PSA

KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 9:23 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, nearly one in five crashes on Texas roads were caused by a distracted driver in 2021.

Distractions can include anything from texting and talking on the phone to eating and drinking, putting on makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video and even adjusting the radio. Since Sept. 1, 2017, it has been illegal to read, write, or send a text while driving in Texas.

In September 2019, the White family saw the cruel reality of what distracted driving can do. The Round Rock based family of six suddenly became five. While at a soccer game, 2-year-old Allie White stepped off a grassy median to go play with her brother. A distracted driver on her cell phone turned into the parking lot without looking and ended Allie’s life. Even though the phone was up to her ear, Mike Guidry, a Program Coordinator Instructor at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, warns that this still impedes a driver’s vision.

“When you’re on the phone, if you take your fist and put it in front of you, the circle the size of your fist is all you’re able to 100 percent see in front of you. Outside of that, your peripheral vision, you’re not going to notice it,” said Guidry.

Following the tragedy, the White family founded Allie’s Way, a nonprofit to end distracted driving.

Now, exactly three years after Allie White’s death, her family is sharing her story with the first ever official PSA for distracted driving. Filmed by Mosaic Media, sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and State Farm and endorsed by TxDOT and Safe2Save, the 10 minute video is a semi re-enactment of what happened the day the 2-year-old was killed.

“Just the overall impact, the overall video, just watching it again before I came over here, it made me choke up. It’s just that powerful,” said Guidry.

For the release of the PSA, Allie’s Way and the team behind the film have rented out a movie theatre in Round Rock. The event will have several speakers including TxDOT Commissioner Laura Ryan.

Guidry has nothing but praise for the White family and Jamie White, who gives presentations across the state in partnership with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Kidsafe Initiative to prevent what happened to her daughter from happening to anyone else.

“She’s like the real life Wonder Woman,” said Guidry.

Watch the full interview in the player above.