Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Sad Story of Parents Losing a Child Who was Killed Due to Texting While Driving

Another sad story of parents losing a child who was killed because their child was texting while driving (reported by as follow):
Meridian police officials made a telling discovery on Dec. 29, after emergency crews cut through a tangled mess of what used to be a Ford Mustang to get to the 18-year-old driver trapped inside.

Kassandra Kerfoot's smashed cell phone was right next to her, just under the driver's seat.

Kerfoot had been texting just before losing control of her car and drifting into oncoming rush-hour traffic on Eagle Road. She died later that night.

Her parents are devastated by the loss and don't want anyone else to endure what they have been through.

That's why her mother, Liz Catherman, helped produce a poster - with Kerfoot's picture and the message "Don't text and drive" - that now hangs on the walls of three Meridian high schools, including Meridian High, where Kerfoot graduated in 2009. It's also why Catherman plans to testify in front of the Idaho Legislature later this winter to encourage passage of a bill banning texting while driving.

"This is real. I want (other teens) to know this can happen to anybody," Catherman said.

Catherman said she talked often to her daughter about the dangers of texting and driving, and Kerfoot seemingly would go along with it. Now Catherman hopes the image of a smiling Kassy in the hallways of local high schools will have an impact on students.

"With the poster, the message is simple and direct. It's short, but it says a lot," Catherman said. "Kassy didn't have her seat belt on, either. That could have saved her life. Maybe this can get the message across."

Meridian district officials created about 50 posters for each school - a decision encouraged by several student leaders, district spokesman Eric Exline said.

"It kind of gets your attention, doesn't it?" Exline said. "We were interested in putting out a flier at Meridian High School, but we had a group of student council officers involved who wanted to spread the message more broadly."


Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, failed to get a hearing last year on a bill banning texting while driving, but now Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, has joined the effort.

A Virginia Tech study of truck drivers found that their collision risks were 23 times higher when texting. A University of Utah study of college students found the risk of crashing increased eightfold. And several high-profile accidents around the nation - like Kerfoot's fatal crash on Eagle Road - have focused attention on the issue.

Even Oprah Winfrey has taken it on, asking her viewers to sign "No Phone Zone" pledges against texting while driving.

McGee said he hopes to introduce the bill this week - and he definitely will have Liz Catherman help him push it.

"We knew that texting (while driving) was dangerous, but we didn't know just how dangerous until these studies came out," McGee said Wednesday. "It is time to get something done."

McGee is still tweaking the bill, working on issues like what the proposed fine would be and if the crime would be a traffic infraction or would rise to the level of a misdemeanor.

I'm glad to see that legislation is finally moving forward in Idaho (as in other states) to make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while texting. Studies mentioned above demonstrate that the operation of a motor vehicle while texting is akin to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

CONTACT INFORMATION: If you or a family member have been injured or damaged due to the fault or responsibility of someone else, an industrial accident or by a dangerous or defective product, drug or toxic substance, contact Alan Morton for a no obligation, free consultation.

For additional information contact:

Alan L. Morton
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Telephone: 208.344.5555
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 [866.WIN.1.NOW]
Facsimile: 208.342.2509

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