'I want to scream at them': Victims of distracted driving watch Missouri drivers on phones

"You know that one in a million thing that will never happen to you? Don't believe it because it happened to us."

We asked three people affected by distracted driving to come on a bus ride through St. Louis. These are their stories, the reason behind their advocacy and purpose-- to get the attention of lawmakers and the rest of us, too.

Kimberly sat behind a couple on the bus.

The three have never met, yet their stories are interwoven with one tragic thread.

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Three victims of distracted driving look out the window to see drivers on their phones

In 2007, an Illinois State trooper was texting and driving at 126 miles per hour when he crashed into a car, killing Kimberly's daughters.

"I don't want my kids to be just two highway deaths in 2007," Kimberly Schlau said. "I want my daughters to stand for something. And I want their names to mean something."

Their names are Jessica and Kelli Uhl.

They are the reason Schlau became a public speaker on safe driving.

"You have two choices. You can either crawl in a corner and cry the rest of your life or you can do something," she said. "I was raised, 'get up and do something.'"

Shelley and Mark decided to do something as well.

In 2016, investigators said a man in the opposite lane crossed over and hit the couple head on.

Shelley and Mark's car after the crash

Shelley had six broken ribs, a shattered left hip and a broken back. Mark had eight cracked ribs and multiple fractures from the knee down.

Shelley and Mark in the hospital after a car crash with a distracted driver

“The impact was unbelievable," said Mark. “When he hit our car, it knocked it back 30 feet.”

Police said the driver was on his phone.

"You know that one in a million thing that will never happen to you?" Shelley said. "Don't believe it because it happened to us."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in 2015 because of distracted driving.

47 states have a ban on texting while driving.

Can't see the car traffic GIF? Click here: http://gph.is/2EIu24G

Missouri is not one of those states.

More than 80 people in Missouri were killed in distracted driving related crashes in 2017, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Out of three cars that'll pass me by, one or more will be texting or talking," Craig Durham said. Durham is a professional driver who drove the bus during the ride.

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Craig Durham, a bus driver

Cell phone data collected by AT&T show that in states without texting bans, drivers are 17 percent more likely to text behind the wheel.

"People don't realize how dangerous it is," Mark said. "They just don't grasp it. Until something happens to you like happened to us. They don't have a clue."

In just a little over an hour at the intersection of Lindbergh and Lemay, the three caught more than a couple dozen drivers on their phones.

Drivers using their phones

"Makes me mad. I want to scream at them," Shelley said. "I want to ask them...what is so important that you got to be on the phone?"

There are currently more than ten bills filed in Jefferson City, and so far none have come up for a vote.

One of the bills is co-sponsored by Democrat Bruce Franks from St. Louis and a Republican from the other side of the state.

"For those of you who have been using your phone when you get home, write down something to tell your family so that in the event that you are killed or kill someone else because you're using your phone, write down what you want us to tell your family," Schlau said.