Los Angeles, CA – She may be an Orthodox Jew but a California mother of four has taken an unorthodox approach to stopping drivers from texting while they drive by encouraging drivers to turn their cars into mobile billboards bearing anti texting messages.
Hancock Park resident Margot Grabie’s anti-texting crusade actually began several months ago.
“My husband Ezra is a cyclist and he has a dog tag bracelet with his name and blood type on it,” Mrs. Grabie told VIN News. “I asked him why he wears it once and he told me that he when he is cycling he sees distracted drivers which pose a huge threat to a person on a bike.”
Noticing just how many motorists text while they drive, Mrs. Grabie took her husband’s words to heart.
Grabie’s story was featured by several news stations, including the one below by local CBS LA.
“Ezra does Bike 4 Chai and other fundraisers and it really scares me when he is out on the road and he’s not home when he says he will be,” said Mrs. Grabie.
Her first effort to make the roads safer by reminding people not to text while they drive was a free app called Drive Easy App, which has been under development since January and will be available shortly on both iPhone and Android. Mrs. Grabie hopes that drivers will activate the app before putting their keys in the ignition.
“When you touch your phone, a picture comes up with a pre-recorded message,” said Mrs. Grabie. “People need a reason to stop texting and need to condition themselves to stop doing it. I am hoping that if someone sees a picture of their kids when they touch their phone, and hears their children saying ‘Mommy don’t text while you drive,’ it will tap into their emotional side and will stop them from texting.’”
While Mrs. Grabie is optimistic that her app will be a deterrent to those who text while driving, she felt the need to do something else in the interim while her app was still under development. Using a window marker, Mrs. Grabie wrote an anti-texting message on her rear windshield in May, hoping it would encourage drivers to put down their phones. She never expected that one message to take off the way that it did.
“People starting taking pictures of my car and friends started asking me to write on their back windows also,” said Mrs. Grabie. “My kids wrote on the back of my father’s car and he knows that he can’t let them down.”
Mrs. Grabie’s campaign began to mushroom and she began offering free window markers so that others could spread the anti-texting message as well.
People have been sending her pictures of their own cars bearing anti-texting messages and Mrs. Grabie’s Instagram page is full of pictures of cars, minivans and pickup trucks with license plates from assorted states bearing messages including, “If you can read this, I thank you for not texting and driving,” “Just drive, don’t text,” and “Put down the phone and DRIVE,” accompanied by a smiley face. Mrs. Grabie says she has been contacted by people in South Africa and Australia who have followed her lead and adorned their vehicles with anti-texting messages.
According to Mrs. Grabie, whose children range in age between twelve and two years of age, the campaign has been well received so far and has been covered by several local news outlets. ”
“There is something about a hand written message that captures the attention,” said Mrs. Grabie. “People are nosy and they want to read and see if maybe someone got married or something else. Sometimes when I drive I get honked. At first I thought, ‘What did I do wrong?’ but then drivers give me the thumbs up.”
Mrs. Grabie’s website, www.DriveEasy.com, shares her anti-texting message and also offers free window markers to anyone who wants to participate in the campaign. She estimated that she has given out 250 markers so far.
“We have sent out to people in New York, Canada and practically the whole East Coast,” said Mrs. Grabie.
Both private individuals and a few local business have donated markers and shipping supplies to help further the effort and Mrs. Grabie is hopeful that donations will continue to come in so that she can continue furthering her message.
“I just want to be able to say I made a difference,” said Mrs. Grabie. “If I saved even one person then I met my goal.”
For more information or to get involved visit driveeasy.com.