Grabie, mother of four, wants other moms to set an example to their children by not touching their phones when driving. Margot is a road safety advocate, which is how I met her. Like me, she is raising her family in Los Angeles, where traffic accidents are frequent and often deadly.
Margot is the creator of The Drive Easy App, which discourages folks behind the wheel from using their phone. It's a clever app and one that appeals to your heart. If you touch your phone while the car is in motion, a photo of your family and friends appears, and a recorded voice tag of your
family or friends tells you to not touch your phone.
In January 2015, she
began working on the mobile anti-texting and driving app, and there were the expected delays in taking it to launch. So instead of waiting until it was ready, she raised awareness in another, more analog, way. She wrote the
message on her car's rear window.
"Friends thought it
was a great idea and that I should share it on social media," she told me. "I did and
then people started asking where they could get a marker, so they could write
the message on their window. My campaign wasn't planned, it just
She has shipped out more than 500 markers worldwide to places like Canada, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Italy and all over the
U.S. The markers can be used several times, so many recipients have
written on friends', co-workers' and other family members' cars that she tells me she has no idea of how far this campaign has reached. "I've not been
able to keep exact track," she said.
Her own kids know
know that texting and driving is wrong.
"They speak up if they are in a car
with an adult who is texting and driving," Margot said, adding their friends tell their
parents they want to have writing on their car too so they can be safe. "My oldest is 12 and, in just a few years, will be driving,
so I want to be a good example for her."
Kids copy behaviors they see, so parents need to make sure that what they're doing now is safe, is how they want their own kids to be behind the wheel.
"Whenever there is an
issue with safety or school security, I'm always involved," says Margot. She even made her carpool line a "No Cell Phone Zone." She had seen parents texting and, with children so close to the cars, there would be
This app, this cause, is her passion. But still: it's a ton of work. As a one-woman show, she has not had time to set up
a foundation. But she's made the most of connections with other organizations, which have added the marker campaign to their awareness efforts.
Margot appears on podcasts, ran a booth at a local run/walk to raise awareness
(Conor Lynch Foundation), and worked with a PR firm in Georgia that will be running the marker
campaign for the Department of Transportation. Reggie Shaw, who has been
part of the AT&T "It Can Wait" campaign, speaks to schools about distracted driving. He has taken the marker idea and shared it with students. Through Shaw's experience with distracted driving (he killed two people while texting and driving), he has taken this on as his life's mission.
The Department of
Education in Los Angeles will be applying her marker campaign to make kids more
aware of the dangers of distracted driving, too. And in Baltimore, a bunch
of families have participated in the marker campaign in memory of their friend,
Neely Snyder, who was hit by a tractor trailer on her way to work and
died. They have organized a "tat-your-car" event at their
Thankfully, Margot has not been directly harmed by distracted driving. But she knows the statistics and is a concerned parent and wife who wants to to keep her family and community safe.
"I never want
to be a statistic and, to me, road safety is No. 1. That means, wearing seatbelts, proper
carseat installation, wearing helmets when riding a bike, knowing how to properly
cross the street, etc."
Thankfully through her efforts, she says, she has met so many
wonderful people who share the same goals, so she knows that they are making a
difference. Unfortunately, many in the road safety community have become
members through tragedy and loss.
"I am an activist on prevention and safe
driving education, so that I never become a victim," she says.
A crash that really bothered Margot was one that caused by a bus driver who was texting before he fatally crashed and three of his passengers, two children and a teacher, including the mother of Seraya Glasper, one of the girls who died.
The feedback has been
amazing towards Margot's product.
People honk and give Margot a thumbs up. People comment
on her window message, which initiates conversation about the issue.
Georgia's Dept. of Transportation will host an event to distribute more than 500 markers, so others can write the message on the side of their cars.
Margot believes by writing on their cars, people become more
conscious of their own actions and not hypocritical.