MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) – Distracted driving kills an average of nine people every day in America, according to AAA.
If that number doesn’t make you want to put your phone down behind the wheel, then perhaps one man’s story will.
It was 2010. Justin Iburg was driving home when he got a text message.
Without thinking, he pulled out his phone, read the message and that’s when it happened.
He ended up hitting and killing a motorcyclist who was stopped at a construction site near Mitchell.
Iburg still thinks about that tragic day.
“Well, I took a man’s life so I feel like I should make up for that. I feel like I should try to save lives,” Iburg said.
That’s exactly why he’s sharing his message about distracted driving.
Iburg spoke to students in Mitchell as a part of AAA’s new campaign “Don’t drive intoxicated. Don’t drive intexticated.”
“Distracted driving is a huge problem because we’re not just talking about people who text and drive. We’re talking about people who are distracted even with their kids, a pet, or something like that,” AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager Marilyn Buskohl said.
Tuesday was the launch of the program, but Buskohl says they’ll be taking their message to more schools.
“It only takes one or two seconds for a situation to happen where there’s a crash,” Buskohl said.
That’s something Iburg found out the hard way.
“Just that one second it takes to look down at your phone; it can happen to anyone. You’re risking someone else’s life or even your own,” Iburg said.
It’s an important message not just for the students, but for all drivers.
The Highway Patrol also took part in the presentation Tuesday.
AAA wants people to take a pledge to help prevent distracted driving.