Distracted behind the wheel? The Red Thumb movement is helping drivers pay attention

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's not a fashion statement. Two local women are using red thumbs to stop inattentive driving. They each have personal reasons why they're raising awareness in the hopes of saving lives.

"I made a promise to myself and my family and my dad to always fight for it and to never be that person that takes somebody's 'somebody' away from them," said Ashley Laird.

Laird made that promise on December 1st, 2014. There was a crash on Highway 41/45 in Washington County. Laird's father, AJ Laird was taken from her.

Crash on Highway 41/45 in Washington County

"It's silly. It's stupid. It's not worth it. I'll tell you right now it's not worth it," said Laird.

Germantown police say the cause of the crash was inattentive driving, on the part of the other driver.

"It was just in a way that was so selfish and so unfair and so tragic that it wasn't supposed to happen, and it very easily could have not happened but it did and we can't change that. But to make a promise to him that he didn't die for nothing, that I will be an advocate for him and for all drivers out there that it needs to stop," said Laird.

Ashley and AJ Laird

From bumper stickers to Facebook posts, Ashley Laird is spreading the word about safe driving.

Last week her best friend was in a crash.

"It was due to an inattentive driver who was on her phone," said Kristin Treslley.

Thankfully for Treslley and the other driver, there were no serious injuries -- but it did change her.

"It was an awakening how fast things can happen in life. I was leaving my house, you know, telling my spouse 'I'll see you later. I love you. We'll make tacos,' and that's how fast you can't be home in an hour," said Treslley.

She filled Laird in on the 'Red Thumb movement.'

"It's a neat way of reminding yourself that your conversation can wait," said Treslley.

It's a simple concept: Tie something to, color or paint your thumb red. And then when you look down at it, it's a reminder to stop, put your phone down and just drive.

It's another tool that's helping Laird fulfill her promise to her late father.