The Dangers of Cell Phone Use While Driving

September 27, 2013 Updated May 7, 2010 at 8:45 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

September 27, 2013 Updated May 7, 2010 at 8:45 PM EDT

It was just an average day for Al Flessel on May 29th 2008 while working overseas in South Africa.

"I was just driving home from work, it was just a normal day. I remember listening to the radio," said Flessel.

But during that drive home, his cell phone rang and that call changed his life.

"As I leaned over to pick up the phone, I turned the steering wheel, causing me to go off the road," added Flessel. "I went to correct the steering, but I must have over corrected."

Flessel's car rolled over numerous times and the impact of the crash broke Flessel's spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He underwent surgery in South Africa, and spent months at ECMC for rehabilitation. Although he's made great strides in his recovery, he still has no feeling in his legs and limited use of his hands. He's sharing his story so others think twice about using their cell phones while driving.

"You are not indestructible. I thought I was, and in a split second my life changed," added Flessel. "There's not enough physical therapy in the world that will ever make me stand again or gain the use of my hands, that's gone forever. That 10 second phone call took my life away."

It's a simple message, everyone should listen to:

"Don't answer the phone. Don't make that phone. Because you could end up like me," stressed Flessel.