One Medical Assistant Student’s Red Thumb Reminder to All Drivers

For Globe University-Sioux Falls, new quarters not only bring a new batch of incoming students to campus, but also new organizations and new ways to get involved in the Sioux Falls area. The community-centered campus allows staff, faculty and students to get to know each other quickly, and we all soon learn about the causes important to our students. For one medical assistant student, Ann Brunkow, that cause is the danger of texting and driving. That’s why Brunkow got involved in the Red Thumb Reminder.

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Ann Brunkow, medical assistant student

So for those of us who don’t know, we asked Brunkow, what is the Red Thumb Reminder?

The Red Thumb Reminder is an “old school” approach to remind people not to text and drive. But it’s not just texting that people are guilty of in their cars—they’re putting on makeup, singing along to the radio, or eating food. This is known as distracted driving. The story behind the movement evolved from one mother’s attempt to prevent herself from texting and driving by painting her thumbnail red so every time she picked up her phone from behind the wheel, all she would see was a big red thumb reminding her to put the phone away.

What or who encouraged you to take part in the Red Thumb Reminder Initiative and why is it important to you?

After losing two friends to distracted driving, I was angry. I viewed a video posted on Facebook one day about the Red Thumb Reminder, and it’s changed the way I drive ever since. After watching the video, I decided to see just how much I was using my phone behind the wheel. As it turns out, I was using my phone to check Facebook, Instagram, and several other things. After painting my thumb red, I started keeping track of how many times I picked up my phone while driving.


After two weeks, I had no desire to pick up my phone while driving. I would rather arrive at my destination safely and text someone once I have arrived, rather than not arrive at all.

What efforts have you made since joining the Red Thumb Reminder?

Since I have been involved with Red Thumb Reminder, several of my friends and family members have joined the cause. In February, Keloland reported on the cause, and I have had several people contact me about speaking with groups such as the Kiwanis Club, churches, and women’s groups.

Brunkow’s red thumb

What do you hope to see change in the future for texting and driving?

South Dakota has also been successful in passing a texting and driving ban statewide. Starting this July, people will receive a ticket for texting and driving. So be sure to paint your thumb red to remind yourself of the dangers of texting and driving. It may just save your life.