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February 1, 2011
Redlands, CaliforniaEsri software and services are being used as part of a project in a special episode of the Emmy Award-winning hit TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The episode aired on ABC Television on January 30, 2011. It showcased a new home built for Jeannie and Johnnie Mac Brown, who tragically lost their teenage daughter, Alex, in a car accident as the result of texting while driving.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition selected the Brown family based on their story to help them spread the word to people, particularly teenagers, about the dangers of texting while driving. To honor their daughter's memory, the parents formed the Remember Alex Brown Foundation. The foundation's website is a place for people to tell their stories, learn from others, and make a difference. The new home features a special office for the parents to continue their work to make texting while driving illegal across the United States.
"We wanted to help because what the Brown family is doing is important," says Simon Thompson, director of commercial solutions, Esri. "They're honoring their daughter while getting a valuable message out: before you drive, please put your cell phone away and drive safely."
During the episode, the Browns asked teenagers and others to go to the foundation website and pledge not to text while driving. Esri donated software and services to help build and host a map application for the foundation's command center. Staff at the command center can view a digital U.S. map showing the states using three different categories: those that have passed texting laws, those with such laws pending, and those with no texting laws yet. Every time someone submits an online pledge, the web map in the command center flashes bright red, showing which state received the petition.
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