GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nearly five years after his 20-year-old son died, a Greensboro father says the pain is still fresh. Now, he’s warning other young drivers to be cautious and alert behind the wheel ahead of the holiday weekend.
“I'm holding back tears now, it hasn't changed,” said Vernon Groossman-Orr. “It is as raw as it was when I first got the news that he had been in an accident.”
Vernon’s son was on his way home from dinner when police say he crossed the center line on Freeman Mill Road and hit an SUV. Police don’t know exactly what caused Bailey to veer off. There was no alcohol in his system.
Vernon thinks distraction played a role.
Distracted driving is a growing problem, according the American Automobile Association.
Greensboro police are working to make sure young drivers know the risk. It held a demonstration at Western Guilford High School on Thursday before students left for spring break.
“Sometimes when students get out of school, they may go on spring break or vacation and make poor choices,” said Officer J.B. Price.
The student run demonstration called “The Message 2 die 4” encouraged kids to put their phones down.
“If you are traveling 55 miles per hour and you looked down at your phone for three to five seconds you would have travelled the length of a football field,” Officer Price said.
Vernon doesn’t know what exactly distracted his son, but he does believe his son may have survived if he had worn a seatbelt.
“Almost always putting on your seatbelt is not good enough,” Grossman-Orr said. “Fasten your seatbelt, put down your phone down, get to where you are going safely and then have a good time.”
If you are caught without a seatbelt, you could have to pay $160 in fines and court costs. If you are driving distracted, Greensboro police say that’s about $260.