Calgary family continues growing distracted driving campaign

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on September 29th, 2017

Out of our worst mistakes comes a desire to improve, and for one Calgarian woman—and her parents—that meant not only striving for personal improvement, but helping others avoid the same mistakes.

Just over four years ago, 19-year-old Melody Battle was late for work at her job in the Rocky Mountain House area. Despite the fact that she was rushed and driving, she—as many in her position would do—sent a quick text message, letting her boss know she would be late.

She never made it in at all.

"We got a call that she was in hospital in Edmonton and they didn't know if she was going to make it," said Carmen Battle, Melody's mother, who was informed that Melody had collided with the back of a grader on a secondary highway shortly after it happened. "We drover up there, crying and wondering if we were going to get there in time."

Melody suffered a traumatic brain injury and has lost sight in her right eye. She has some trouble walking freely on her own and cannot cry or read many social cues. Yet, with the help of her parents, she is playing an important role in the fight against distracted driving.

The family came together to found Battle Against Distracted Driving (BADD), an awareness campaign that received non-profit status last month and will likely be designated as a charity in the near future.

In addition to other initiatives, the family has partnered with the RCMP, telling its story to Albertans who have been pulled over for distracted driving.

"We leave people in tears," said Stephen Battle, Melody's father, "because we have to relive our experience, which is so emotional for all three of us."

It is also an experience that, sadly, is not unique to their family. An OPP report revealed that distracted driving causes more collisions in Ontario than speed, alcohol, and drug-related activity combined. This dangerous behaviour needs to be curbed, and the Battles are thankfully doing their part to make sure it is.

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