Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Families of Distracting Driving Tragedies Support Texting While Driving Ban

Jeanne Brown, center, and family members of
those who lost their lives because of distracted driving

In an emotional media briefing today, families of victims of distracted driving spoke in support of legislation banning texting while driving. The bills, known collectively as the Alex Brown Memorial Act, are sponsored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). Numerous other state legislators have signed on as co-authors. The Alex Brown Memorial Act is named in honor of 17-year-old Alex Brown, who lost her life while texting and driving. Her mother, Jeanne Brown, joined legislators at the capitol to speak out on this public safety hazard.

On her way to school one morning, Alex Brown made the fatal decision to text and drive. As a result, she lost control of her truck and was thrown through the windshield, where her mother found her.

“The truck landed on top of my 110 pound daughter and crushed her,” Mrs. Brown told media and legislative staff. “911 is supposed to be an easy number to dial in emergency ... but 911 was the hardest number I’ve ever had to dial.”

“Having a texting and driving bill doesn’t take any of our freedoms away,” Mrs. Brown said. “I still have the right to text — at the appropriate time, not behind the wheel.” The government sets boundaries on the road to keep us safe, she added. “We have speed limits, we have school zones, we have seat belts.” The Alex Brown Memorial Act adds another boundary to protect Texas lives on roadways.

Robert Greenberg, MD

“I’ve been involved in the worst days of people’s lives more than I want to remember,” said Robert Greenberg, MD, a Temple emergency physician. He spoke on behalf of the Texas Medical Association in support of the bills. Dr. Greenberg said too often he must tell families of distracted driving victims that their loved one will not make it. Too often he must tell families their loved one will survive — but with serious brain injuries that will force them to live much more physically challenging lives.

“Tragedies are worse when they are avoidable,” said Dr. Greenberg. “Texting while driving is avoidable ... We need to pass this legislation.”


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