Red is usually the color associated with “stop.” It’s also a popular color choice in nail salons. So salons are spreading awareness of a growing problem by painting thumbnails red.
Karen Brezitski, of Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, enjoys rare relaxation during her manicure at Serenity Spa, in York. She’s painting her nails bright orange. It’s a look that never gets old. She’s been wearing orange since her son, Owen, died three years ago.
Brezitski says, “There’s not a day or moment that goes by without me thinking about it. Because I was right there and the first responder to start CPR, it plays over in my mind.”
Owen was eight years old when he was walking across the street after his sisters’ band concert at Bishop McDevitt High School.
Brezitski says, “Before we knew it, we were halfway through the cross walk and out of no where a car came and driven by a distracted 17-year-old driver who struck and killed Owen in front of us.”
Soon after, the Brezitski’s started “Orange 4 Owen.” It’s a foundation which raises awareness of distracted driving.
Brezitski says, “Epidemic problem in our country, so it’s important that we get the word out that people should be focused on the task at hand and we really shouldn’t be doing anything else.”
From one bold move to the next, she’s painting her thumbnails is support of the “Red Thumb Reminder.”
Serenity Spa Manager, Jennifer Ryder- Merrill says, “You are picking up to text, you see the red and it stands out and you’ll say okay, stop, it’s like a stop sign.”
It’s an effort at salons that supports Brezitski and her hope.
“It brings me some small sense of joy and sense of peace that I am helping to promote safer driving so Owen’s death is not in vain,” says Brezitski.
According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 26% of crashes in 2012 can be attributed to cell phone use while driving.