BUCKSPORT, Maine — Christina Darveau didn’t know that the driver giving her 15-year-old daughter a ride home could not carry passengers.
“I asked the driver if she could have passengers and I was told that she could,” Darveau said.
On the way home, the car swerved off the road and hit a tree. Darveau’s daughter, Taylor, was killed.
The driver had an intermediate license, which means she could not carry passengers who were not immediate family members, unless they were over 20 years old and had had their license for at least two years.
Now, Christina and her husband, Corey Darveau, are taking action that they hope will help prevent crashes like the one Taylor was in. They are in the process of designing a pink decal that parents can put on the front and back windshields of the car their teenager drives, indicating that the driver has an intermediate license.
Police would not be able to pull drivers over because they had a decal, but its presence might prompt parents, teachers and coaches to ask questions when they see multiple young people getting into a car that has a pink Taylor sticker, according to Christina Darveau.
For her, this action is a way to generate some good after an unbearable tragedy.
“I miss my daughter,” she said through tears. “Her passing was preventable, avoidable and meaningless. As a parent I need to make sure that Taylor has a voice now.”
The decals will be pink — Taylor’s favorite color — and will show the date that the driver’s intermediate license is up.
They will also say Thinking About Your Life on the Road, a phrase Christina Darveau came up with using the letters of her daughter’s name.
She said that both her and her husband’s Facebook pages have exploded with support from people who have heard about their project. Many of the comments are from other parents asking the Darveaus for decals they can put on their children’s cars.
The Darveaus are still a few steps away from bringing the project to fruition. On Friday, they expect to approve the design for the sticker. They are working on a website where parents will be able to purchase the decals for $10. They have spoken with police stations and doctors offices who have expressed interest in selling the decals and putting up awareness posters, Christina Darveau said.
Proceeds from the sales will go to Corey and Christina Darveau’s larger campaign to reduce the number of car crashes involving children. Christina Darveau hopes to influence lawmakers to pass legislation that will make it tougher for new drivers to get their licenses. She is in favor of requiring parents to participate more in drivers education and making the minimum age someone can get a license 17 years old, among other restrictions.
The Darveaus also want to speak at high schools and in drivers education classes, and to make a video for young drivers in which they will explain what happened to their daughter.
“I’m not going to stop until something gets done,” Christina Darveau said, referring to pushing for new legislation.
“I’ve quit my job. I was an RN for 20 years but this has to be my focus right now.”