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New DVD shows dangers of texting and driving



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Transportation leaders have a lifesaving message they hope to share with every Utah high school student.

The Utah Department of Transportation is distributing a DVD to Utah high schools that shows the consequences of texting while driving from the painful perspectives of a driver who caused a fatal accident and the widows of the two men it killed.

"This is a mistake that I cannot take back, I cannot change, and I'll live with for the rest of my life," Reggie Shaw says in the film.

Reggie Shaw
Reggie Shaw

His mistake is the focus of a Utah Department of Transportation documentary on the dangers of texting while driving.

"When I left that morning, it was never my intention to hurt or harm anyone," Shaw says.

In 2006, Shaw clipped a car with two men inside and sent it spinning into the path of an oncoming truck. The impact killed the men instantly; their widows later learned Shaw had been texting.

"[I] just started crying and repeating the word ‘no,'" widow Jackie Furfaro says.

Leila O'Dell, who was also made a widow by the accident, says, "I remember being so shocked that someone could be so selfish and irresponsible and kill my husband."

Members of the audience were moved to tears to watch the pain of two families and the torment of the driver. He served a 30-day jail sentence and is now, as part of community service, urging drivers not to repeat his mistake.

Shaw says he wants to make sure, quote: "That they don't do what I did, that they don't put people through what I put people through. … It's changed my life forever and changed the lives of two other families forever."

The state will distribute the DVD to every Utah high school for assemblies and driver's education classes. Law enforcement officials also wants to make it clear, because of Utah's new law that bans texting while driving, drivers will now face much longer jail sentences.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Nadine Wimmer

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