18-year-old Elizabeth May Marks was one of the most popular girls at St. Michaels High School in Talbot County Maryland. Aside from the fact that she was an honor student, Liz was the typical teenager who liked to hang out with her friends, go out and hang on to her smartphone every chance she got.
It was this attachment to smartphones that eventually changed Marks' life for the worse. On April 7, 2012 on St. Michaels Road, Liz crashed her 2011 Mazda 3 into the back of a tow truck waiting to turn left at a stoplight. She did not see because she was reading a text from her mom. While the tow truck's driver was virtually unharmed, Liz was rushed to the hospital, where she was found to have suffered multiple brain injuries and facial fractures. Her life was changed forever.
Now, two years after that fateful day, Liz and her mother Betty has decided to take to YouTube to call on everybody not to text while driving. The video, which was posted in April by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has resurfaced and been making the rounds of the Internet. More than 3 million people have seen Liz's video.
"I ignored these warnings about texting while driving because everyone else was doing it," she says. "So I thought it was okay. I thought I was invincible. But clearly, I was completely wrong."
Liz's injuries in the head have made her left eye blind and her nose unable to smell. The 20-year-old is also now having difficulties with hearing because the fractures in her head broke one of her eardrums. When she feels like crying because of how devastated she feels, she can't; her accident has damaged her tear ducts as well. Liz can no longer fall asleep without the help of medicines, and worst part of all, she says, was the fact that she no longer has any friends.
"The hardest part of my life after the car accident was the fact that I was alone," she says. "Everyone was in college. I wasn't. I couldn't drive. I couldn't go to college. My friends were there for me at first, but after a while, they weren't. They got tired of me. They got tired of all my problems."
The video is a powerful reminder to drivers, young and old, that texting while driving in any circumstance should never be tolerated.
"Don't text your loved ones when you know they're driving," says Liz's mother, Betty. "It can change their live forever."
"If you have a text, don't look at it," Liz adds. "It's not worth it."