The parents of a Texas teen killed in a car crash just seconds after she unbuckled her seat belt to snap a selfie are turning their tragic loss into an awareness campaign for driver safety.
David and Wendy Mills are joining the Texas Department of Transportation for a new “Click or Ticket” movement to stress the importance of buckling up .
The effort includes a display made up of nearly 1,000 “ghost shoes” — white footwear in every style, shape and size set up in a series of perfect rows .
“I can almost see all the people standing here behind me,” David Mills told Fox 26.
“There’s 929 pairs of shoes behind us, and each one of those shoes belonged to somebody who lost their life in 2017 from not wearing a seat belt.”
A pop of color can be spotted amid the sea of white sneakers and boots — a bright pink pair of shoes the Mills placed to honor their 16-year-old daughter.
Kailee Mills was driving with three friends to a Halloween party in October when she unbuckled her seat belt to take a photo. Mere seconds later, the teen was killed in a car wreck just 500 yards from her home.
“The car went off the road. She was ejected and she died instantly,” her father told the news station.
“All the other kids in the car, they had their seat belts on and they all survived with very little injury.”
The Texas Department of Transportation says buckling up is the easiest and most effective way to remain safe in a crash. It reduces the risk of death in a crash by 45% in a car or SUV and 60% in a pickup truck.
The Mills have also taken to using decals to help encourage safety in honor of their daughter’s memory.
“She had this laugh that was very unique,” Wendy Mills told Fox. “Her laugh alone made you smile and she loved to make people smile. My daughter was just outgoing, a ray of sunshine.”