A lot can happen in the time you take your eyes off the road to make a call or send a text.
Your mind becomes focused on your phone and is not where it should be, which is on operating a heavy machine.
That’s the message that John Gordon shares with anyone who will listen to him.
Recently, he shared his personal experiences with hundreds of school bus drivers and aids from the North Central Ohio Educational Services Center.
They took a break from their mobile offices to sit in his safety seminar.
He was there to tell them that any distracted driving can lead to a disaster.
He knows that first hand. Gordon lost his son, Rusty, who himself was the father of two.
“The driver of the other truck had swerved left of center prior to impact with my son,” Gordon said.
He said subpoenaed records showed the driver who hit Rusty had a transmission on his phone shortly before an emergency call about the crash came into dispatch.
Gordon said what he misses most about his son is talking to him.
“He’s my buddy,” the father said.
Now, instead of talking to Rusty, he talks to people about the importance of putting the phone away.
Since 2011, he’s visited some 60 schools in Ohio and has met with thousands of people. He shares statistics and a video.
He wants to make sure drivers know what can happen when texting or talking gets in the way of wheel time.
Lois Bowdre heard Gordon loud and clear.
She keeps her phone out of reach in her car.
She wishes that everyone she shares the road with will do the same.
“I hope they understand how important it is to keep their phones in their pockets,” Bowdre said.
Gordon said that if his words help save one life, it will help heal the pain he still feels with Rusty’s loss.
“I think he’d be proud for not letting his life not mean anything,” Gordon said.
10TV also spoke with family members of the driver who hit Rusty.
They dispute Gordon’s claim that he was using his cell phone in some way in the moments leading up to the crash. They say the records Gordon cites do not prove cell phone use behind the wheel. Gordon, a former police officer, is resolute, and continues to give his talks on the perils of distracted driving.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.