Hunter Levitan
April 1, 2022

Merritt Levitan's sister, Hunter, shares her story in honor of April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

You are so strong.

These are familiar words. 


In the beginning, they used to enrage me. They felt hollow, empty, a rhetoric people cling to, because what else do you say in the aftermath of tragedy? Anger boiled beneath my chest, tightened around my heart, flared within my lungs. I wanted to scream,




My mother, father, brother, and I were forced into strength when my sister was struck and killed by a distracted driver. She was 18, I was 16, my brother was 13.


Further into my grief, I realized those words did not ignite anger, rather exposed my brokenness, a fresh wound I had not yet grown accustomed to or wanted to accept. That people offer these words out of kindness and empathy, to reach out through the darkness of grief, when the unimaginable happens. 


Yet it felt unfair, wrong, to hear those words, because that strength people saw was not my own doing but was forced upon me by someone else. A distracted driver killed my best friend, my guardian angel, my companion for life, my sister, when I was a teenager with the rest of my life to live.


Knowing the transience of life on earth, how delicate, brief, unknown, unforeseeable it is, there was only one option: to get up and live, because people like my sister were robbed of that opportunity by someone else.


TextLess Live More was created in honor of my sister, Merritt Levitan. Because the driver who killed her was texting and driving. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an entire month dedicated to ending the distracted driving epidemic that causes tragic fatalities every day.


July 2022 will be 9 years since I last saw, spoke, hugged, laughed, smiled, and argued with my sister. I am fighting to end distracted driving and prevent other fatal accidents. Because driving distracted is a conscious choice that costs lives.

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