PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – From texting, to changing the radio station, taking your eyes off the road for even a second while you’re driving can be dangerous and even deadly.
A woman from Pittsburgh knows the consequences first-hand.
Stephani Victor’s life took a drastic turn 20 years ago.
She had just graduated from USC Film School and was living the life when a distracted driver – a 17-year-old who had his driver’s license for only 10 days – changed everything.
“I was simply going out to dinner when an out of control car came up into the driveway and crushed me into the back of the vehicle that we were loading,” Victor said.
She lost both her legs in the crash.
“I truly was so grateful to be alive that I saw this as my life’s greatest challenge and I was going to take it on,” she said.
Victor took her obstacles head-on. She became a gold medal Paralympian ski racer.- she’s won five medals, two of them gold.
She’s also become an inspiration. She shares her story in hopes of empowering others to put down the phone.
“I wouldn’t hand you a beer to get in your car and go for a drive…But, we need to look at cell phones the same way because every time you grab that cell phone and get behind the wheel, you are as distracted if not more,” Victor said.
Victor is originally from Sewickley, but speaks to high school students all over.
She is also a spokeswoman for the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, which focuses on the dangers of distracted driving.
“It used to be that we had to convince people that it’s a problem. People are beyond that now. They know it’s a problem, the question is the solution,” Eric Chaffin said.
Victor hopes she is contributing to the solution by educating others.
“Let it wait, it can wait, trust me,” she said.