By Kara Bishop
VehicleMD Staff Writer
Originally published in Fall 2012 issue

77 percent of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving, while 55 percent of young adult drivers claim it’s easy to text while they drive, according to Quinstreet, Inc.

Alex Brown was the school mascot in Seagraves, Texas, and was expected to graduate at the top of her class. However, she chose to text four friends on her way to school that morning and never got the chance to give her valedictorian address.

Alex died on November 10, 2009. Her parents, Johnny Mac and Jeanne Brown made their first presentation to Wellman High School December 1, 2009. Since then, they’ve been to more than 350 schools all over the United States, explaining the dangers of this perilous trend that has gripped so many within this technological-minded generation.

In their presentation, Jeanne gives the students some advice if they wish to continue texting and driving.

Jeanne said, “I ask them to consider what they would like planned for their funeral, because that was one of the hardest for my family because we didn’t know what Alex would want. When you choose to text and drive, you are essentially putting your life at risk, and you aren’t just hurting yourself. You’re hurting all of those that you leave behind – I want everyone to realize the stark reality of what happens to families when their loves ones are killed because of cell phone usage in the car.”

According to, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent – that’s a big percentage.

There are some options to help drivers eliminate texting while driving. The Browns discussed three phone applications that aid in helping drivers avoid texting while in the car.

PhoneGuard: This app turns on once the vehicle is going faster than 10 miles per hour. Once the car reaches 10 on the speedometer, the keypad on the cell phone is blocked. It will also send an automated response to whomever texted you.

Text Toggle: Once turned on, the app makes sure you don’t get phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. Once you turn the app off, all of your texts or phone calls you may have received while driving show up on your phone. It also has a customizable automated response that will be sent to those who have texted you. This app, once turned on, will read your text messages, emails, Facebook chat or tweets from Twitter out loud to you while you’re on the road.

I never met Alex Brown, but I will always remember her, because watching Jeanne Brown struggle through the story of how her daughter died was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a journalist. However, it’s changed my life. I went to their foundation’s website (, and I signed the pledge to not text and drive. Will you?

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