Alberta crash survivor shares message to reduce distracted driving

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WATCH: Distracted driving continues to be a dangerous problem. Now, an Alberta woman who almost lost her life after texting and driving is on a mission to change that. Chris Chacon has her story – Oct 21, 2019

Distracted driving continues to be a dangerous problem in Edmonton, but a woman from Rocky Mountain House who almost lost her life after texting and driving is on a mission to change that.

“I thought to myself… ‘I’m going to be late for work. Why don’t I text my boss?'” said Melody Battle, founder of Battle Against Distracted Driving.

Seconds after picking up the phone, tragedy struck.

READ MORE: Survivor of texting crash makes emotional plea for people to put down phones

“I didn’t see the road grader that was right in front of me. So, when I hit the road grader, I slid right in front of it,” she said.

The collision nearly took her life.

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“I lost sight in my right eye, I spent a year in the hospital, in three different hospitals,” said Battle.

“Melody ended up being flown by STARS air ambulance up to the U of A Hospital here in Edmonton and spent years and years trying to recover from her injuries, including a traumatic brain injury,” said RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull.

READ MORE: ‘This is stupid’: Survivor of distracted driving collision speaks out

Battle wanted to help others and created Battle Against Distracted Driving (BADD) and finding support wasn’t that tough.

“I’ve partnered with the Battle family… to develop a program that we deliver to schools and sometimes to people who have received distracted driving tickets… [We] provide more of an education in regards to the dangers of distracted driving,” added Turnbull.

READ MORE: Alberta drivers want distracted driving changes

The education is much-needed, RCMP say.

Recent provincial data shows that over the last five years, distracted driving convictions in Edmonton are up 42 per cent.

“It’s important that the driver of the vehicle, whoever that is, if they do hear the text message… resist the temptation to check it,” said Turnbull.

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The road safety forum was put on by multiple organizations at the Edmonton Expo Centre and was also held last year.

The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $287 fine and three demerit points.