Several first-responder agencies will host a “meet and greet” event Thursday, April 27, in Columbia to raise awareness to the dangers of text messaging and driving while pushing for harsher legislation against offenders.
The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Columbia Borough Municipal Building, 308 Locust St., Columbia.
Attendees are encouraged to sign a “No Texting and Driving” pledge.
Among the hosts is Joey Eddins, a member of Columbia Emergency Medical Services who was seriously injured last year in a texting-involved vehicle crash.
Also hosting are members of Columbia Borough Police Department, Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Emergency Medical Services (formally Columbia QRS), Susquehanna Valley EMS, and Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department.
The format will be informal with brief remarks from the hosts, including Eddins who will discuss how the crash permanently impacted her life and some common excuses she hears from distracted drivers she’s encountered.
“If we can reach even one person to get them to put down the phone behind the wheel, I'll call that a success,” Eddins said.
The brief remarks will be followed by a “meet and greet” involving the first-responders and those in attendance.
Everyone is invited to attend the free event. Light refreshments will be provided.
Nationally, over one million vehicle crashes every year involve distracted drivers, the National Safety Council estimated.
In Pennsylvania, 44 people died in cellphone-involved crashes since 2012, according to PennDOT, including a New Providence woman who lost her life in 2015 when a texting driver veered into her vehicle in Strasburg Township.