Gilroy police joined law enforcement agencies nationwide April 8 through 12  to remind drivers about the dangers and consequences of texting and distracted driving.

How Bad is Distracted Driving in Your State? | SafeWise

Editorial is the opinion of Gilroy Life

It only takes a moment of distraction while driving to lead to the tragic death of a friend, beloved family member or stranger.

Natalia Salcido was a cheerleader at Christopher High School who died in a car accident when the driver was distracted.
Photo courtesy Salcido family.

Let’s remember Natalia Salcido. Because of a split second moment of distraction while driving, the vibrant Christopher High School student died May 9, 2015, a week shy of her 16th birthday and the night before Mother’s Day.

That tragic night nearly six years ago, she was in a car with two of her friends on Miller Avenue in Gilroy. The teenager at the wheel had a provisional driver’s license and was not legally allowed to have other teen passengers in the vehicle.

The car was going 73 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone. The driver turned back briefly to see another passenger’s Snapchat video. During that moment of distraction, the road curved and the car crashed into a tree, killing Natalia. Drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash. All three passengers wore seatbelts.

Later that evening Natalia’s father, San Jose Fire Capt. Chris Salcido, rushed into the hospital room at Regional Medical Center in San Jose. His daughter’s body lay in bed, fully covered with a sheet. The family had been preparing a surprise Sweet 16 party for her. Instead of enjoying the planned celebration, they shared their grief over her lost life from a reckless driving crash.

Salcido, his wife, Andora, and their daughter Noelle have shared the painful story of how Natalia’s death has forever impacted their family. They have talked with students and parents at local high schools as part of the teen-driver education program “Every 15 Minutes.” The program is organized by the California Highway Patrol and intends to help teens understand the potential deadly consequences of drinking and driving or distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Gilroy and Morgan Hill police departments joined law enforcement agencies nationwide April 8 through 12 this year to remind drivers about the dangers and consequences of texting and distracted driving. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort.