Oneonta, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) Otsego County STOP-DWI held its annual conference for Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, on the SUNY Oneonta campus.
Students from area high schools and middle schools broke into several different groups to discuss the dangers of distracted driving, as well as positive life choices.
The special guest speaker was a member of FocusDriven, a national organization designed to allow people who have lost loved ones to distracted driving to share their stories with others. Shelley Forney talked about her 9-year-old daughter who was killed by a driver who was talking on her cell phone.
"After losing our daughter, I had to do something positive in the result of the tragedy we had suffered. And honoring her, I joined FocusDriven to share the message that cell phone distracted driving, having a conversation or text received or sent while you're driving one time is all it takes to impact someone's family forever."
Along with her personal account, she also about the scope and severity of the issue.
"It has become an epidemic in our community, where I live in Colorado, and worldwide. This is a problem that has spread substantially and people need to be aware that lives are being lost. Fifteen people die every day due to distracted driving."
She says that although our society emphasizes staying connected at all times, your car is the one place to unplug.
"There's nothing more important than getting from home to work in one piece and back."
She hopes that putting a face and story to the statistics will have a stronger impact and will discourage people from this deadly practice.