SGI launches campaign with a clear message: “Distracted driving kills”

Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk was preoccupied with her cellphone when she drove into the path of a train; the resulting collision was catastrophic and left the Weyburn teenager in critical condition.

Kailynn’s tragic story is a part of SGI’s latest distracted driving awareness campaign that launches this weekend, coinciding with the June Traffic Safety Spotlight on distracted driving.

“When we got to the hospital and the doctor told me Kailynn needed surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, I was lost. This is supposed to happen in movies, not in real life,” said Kailynn’s mom, Sandra LaRose.

Kailynn’s injuries would prove fatal – five days later her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support. Kailynn had just turned 17 years old.

SGI’s poignant campaign has a clear message: distracted driving kills – don’t miss out on life. The campaign features a 60-second video that shows a young woman dreaming of her life ahead and milestone moments. Those dreams are followed by the nightmare of a head-on collision caused by a distracted driver. Kailynn’s photo and a brief narration by LaRose conclude the video.

“I hope this province-wide campaign will help make the consequences of distracted driving more real to people,” said Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave. “I am grateful to Sandra for sharing her voice and her daughter’s tragic story, and hopeful it will encourage people to avoid all distractions while they drive, including their phones. There should never be another story like Kailynn’s.”

The ad will run online, in cinemas and on television. The campaign will also feature newspaper, radio and billboard advertising. Beginning in July, there will be shorter online videos focusing on common distracted driving behaviours, along with matching radio spots that will run all year. Visit www.sgi.sk.ca/distracted-driving-kills to see the campaign.

For Sandra LaRose, the tragic, preventable death of her daughter has spurred her to speak out about the issue of distracted driving.

“Hopefully people will realize that phone call is not important, that notification is not important, that music is not important; it will wait,” said LaRose. “Life will still go on if you don’t take that call. It’s literally a split second – that’s all it takes. You have control over that object – put your phone away.”

Driver distraction or inattention is the leading cause of collisions and injury on Saskatchewan roads, and one of the leading factors in fatal collisions. In 2017, 26 people died and 953 were injured in distracted driving collisions in Saskatchewan.

 

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