Day after day, Ann Brunkow would see stories of people dying in crashes caused by texting and driving. That frustration led her to social media in search of a way to start a change, and only days ago she found that outlet on her Facebook page.
"It came up on my news feed, just scrolling through one day, and I clicked on the link and I thought ' Wow, that's a great way to remember not to text and drive at the same time," Brunkow said.
The link was for a national campaign called the Red Thumb Reminder. The idea is simple; you paint your thumb red and it is an instant reminder to leave your phone at your side while driving. It soon had her realizing how much texting and driving she did herself.
"Not only texting, but when I was sitting in traffic, I'm like 'Oh, let me check Facebook.' Why am I checking Facebook when I'm driving? I wasn't connecting the two," Brunkow said.
Brunkow quickly looked to one of her close friends to join her in this movement, because they both lost someone close to them because of texting and driving.
"We think that's the reason that he happened to had died was because of the texting and driving, and she deeply feels that's why he was killed on his motorcycle. So, I took a stand and I said 'Hey, do you want to do this with me?' and she said 'Sure, that would be great, I would love it,'" Brunkow said.
Even if it is a small dent in the number of people who lose their lives, Brunkow knows the power of painting your thumb will keep people safer on the road.
"I would rather pay attention to where I'm going, do my things there. If I want to text or whatever I do when I get there, great, but I want to get to where I'm going safely now versus, you know, not getting there," Brunkow said.
Brunkow started this movement in Sioux Falls on Monday and has already had more than 20 people join her in painting their thumbs red. If you would like to know more about the movement, check out the Red Thumb Reminder website.