Parents of killed Yannick: ‘3 seconds of distraction changes entire human life’

Yannick Frijns
Photo credit: Geldrop-Mierlo Municipality/Studio040

Yannick’s (from Geldrop) accident in 2016 is also known as the app accident on Texel island. She (21) was hit from behind on her bicycle by a motorist who was looking at her phone. Yannick’s parents set up a foundation after the loss of their daughter and are now visiting elementary schools with an awareness campaign.

“Actually, I don’t want to stand here!”, mother Lauranne Jansen says. “This means that she would still be alive”. Six years after the accident, it still makes her incredibly sad. As a result, she can hardly get her daughter’s story past her lips. “Above all, we want to stir up a change in behaviour. That people dare to speak to each other like: Hey, what are you doing?”, she continues.

Father Frank Frijns tells how he experienced the night of the accident:
“The accident happened on the island of Texel. I was in Maastricht at the time when I received a call from Lauranne and I immediately went off in that direction. On the way I received word that Yannick was being taken by helicopter to the university hospital in Amsterdam. At 00:30 I arrived at the hospital. By then she was still alive, but no more contact was possible. That night she also died. That is indescribable. It was the worst trip of my life I made then from Maastricht to Amsterdam. I just spent 2.5 hours….” There he falls silent. The event is playing out in his mind, and that does a lot to Frank. “The death of our daughter Yannick is meaningless”.

As Stichting Yannick (Yannick foundation), mother Lauranne and father Frank visit grade 8 with various activities. The children will learn in a playful manner why they should leave their mobile phones in their pocket while cycling. Frank Frijns says: “We have chosen to visit the eighth graders because they will be going to high school next year. Hopefully some of them will soon think: maybe we shouldn’t use that cell phone on our bikes for a while”.

Two of Yannick’s friends are also helping with the event. “We try to teach the children of grade 8 in a fun way that you can be distracted really quickly”, friend of hers, Ellen Smeets let us know. They loved Yannick and describe her as a sweet and sociable girl. “I think she would have found this very intense, because she didn’t really like being in the spotlight. But I do think she would have loved the fact that this campaign is meant for every traffic victim”, Nandi van Suylen explains.

“Every year there are 700 traffic deaths and 20,000 injuries. That shouldn’t be!” Father Frank can’t get over the fact that there are so many. “That’s just 700 senseless deaths!” He understands that they are not going to get the counter to zero with this campaign, but through presentations, workshops, lectures, a theatre performance and even a documentary in two languages about Yannick’s story, their message will at least stick with some.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob

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