Family of teen killed in crash wants ban on drivers' texting

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 3:00 PM
Last updated 10:33 PM
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ATHENS, Ga. - The family of a 2009 Morgan County High School graduate who died in a car crash while texting is pushing legislators to prohibit drivers from typing or reading text messages when on the road.

Caleb Sorohan, 18, was killed Dec. 15 when he crashed head-on into a Toyota Sequoia not far from his Rutledge home while texting on his cell phone.

Sorohan had a phone in his lap that he used to send six texts just minutes before the collision, said his grandmother Sallie Sorohan.

"To have a young life snuffed out like this in a matter of seconds, it's traumatic, it really is. And it's something none of us will ever get over," Sorohan said. "We want something good to come from this death. We don't want others to suffer like we have."

At Sorohan's urging, state Rep. Amos Amerson proposed legislation that would make texting while driving a misdemeanor, punishable by a $300 fine.

State Rep. Allen Peake filed a similar bill, which would fine texting drivers up to $100 and put a two point-violation on their driving record. Peake's House Bill 938 likely will be merged with House Bill 944, sponsored by Amerson.

"The whole purpose of this bill is to change behavior and make people safer on the roads," said Amerson, R-Dahlonega. "A number of times, I've almost been run off the road. (Texting while driving) is very dangerous because people just don't know what's going on around them when they do it."

Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to get into a serious crash than non-distracted drivers, according to a July study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

The same study pointed out that a driver who looks at a cell phone for five seconds while traveling at highway speed covers the length of a football field without seeing the road.

Peake, R-Macon, says he used to be one of those drivers until a passerby took down his state legislator tag and called him to complain. Now Peake says he knows better and tries to leave those all important messages until he gets to the office.

"If you think of it, in three seconds I can kill myself and someone else on the road. So it's worth the wait to check that e-mail or text until you get to the office," he said.

"There are studies that clearly show that texting while driving is a greater distraction than even if you were legally drunk," Peake said. "You think about that for a while - with all those citizens out there, they're a whole lot more dangerous than a road full of drunks."

Driver's education teachers try to emphasize the risks of distracted driving to teens, said Wendy Luna an officer manager at A-1 Driving School. Many teens today text so much, it's hard to make them understand that they should stop when they get into a car, she said.

"We try to scare them, because (texting is) their life," Luna said. "Texting is what they do from when they get up in the morning to when they get home and are about ready to go to bed."

Peake's bill had a first reading in the House on Jan. 14. Amerson expects his bill will be read sometime this week.

Comments (12) Add comment
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tmyboy6988
0
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tmyboy6988 01/24/10 - 03:22 pm
0
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Does anybody else think that

Does anybody else think that this bill is pointless. If it is passed it is virtually impossible to enforce. I also find it funny that the family of the person that was texting is try to have the law pass. So what they are trying to say is that her grandson is careless and irresponsible. Maybe they should have waited and maybe the true victim may have thought it was appropriate to take action. I wonder how many texts that the grandmother answers while driving down the road. I hope she is the first recipient of a ticket

jack
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jack 01/24/10 - 03:38 pm
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The law would be a deterrant.

The law would be a deterrant. Can't make you wear your seat belt, but if in an accident, can make you wish you had if you sirvivie.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 01/24/10 - 03:56 pm
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If common sense does not

If common sense does not prevent you from doing it, a law won't help either.

TrySafetyFirst
0
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TrySafetyFirst 01/24/10 - 04:47 pm
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Atlanta based Try Safety

Atlanta based Try Safety First President and entrepreneur John Fischer has developed technology to prevent texting and emailing when behind the wheel. Please open video link. For more information contact John Fischer at 770-652-4517 or john.fischer@trysafetyfirst.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0kdmDXhkC8

corgimom
38717
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corgimom 01/24/10 - 05:06 pm
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Come to Charlotte. The police

Come to Charlotte. The police are writing lots of tickets for this. It is very easy to enforce, because it's easy to spot. Normal people do not drive looking down.

RoadkiII
6807
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RoadkiII 01/24/10 - 05:11 pm
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tmyboy, from you post I can

tmyboy, from you post I can only assume you text while driving. I am a professional driver with over 1,000,000 accident free miles. I sincerely hope that the next time you feel the need to text while driving that you do not drift out of your lane into mine. Chances are I won't be hurt since my vehicle weighs up to 40 tons. Just imagine what it will do to your SUV.

disssman
6
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disssman 01/24/10 - 05:38 pm
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For a legislator to realize

For a legislator to realize that texting is worse than drunk driving and still insist on a slap on the wrist only points to how much our law makers are owned by corporations. What else would make him suggest what he has? Why not make make texters automatically liable for every accident period. Or else how about a mandatory $1000 fine if you have a text device in the car. Just make everyone store their text and phone devices in the trunk while driving.

Boston93
117
Points
Boston93 01/24/10 - 07:53 pm
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I would think driving/texting

I would think driving/texting should be the same as DUI's. I saw 3 throughout this past week (young women) driving with their elbows. We need unmarked cars patroling for them before someone is hurt. All the comment about you can't control this is simply untrue. If the law would do a better job, it would help. Also, if that won't help and you say they can't catch/prosecute then let's take down all red lights, stop signs, yield signs, mph signs and simply kill each other.

JohnQPublic
5
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JohnQPublic 01/24/10 - 08:03 pm
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They enforce it on Fort

They enforce it on Fort Gordon, You get a ticket. I agree with Boston 93. It's ridiculous that you would kill yourself or have the audacity to kill or injure me or a member of my family because you are so ADDICTED to the cell phone and texting. People have a serious mental problem and show lack of self control when their phones are more important than their lives and the lives of others!

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 01/24/10 - 08:20 pm
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You can't enforce traffic

You can't enforce traffic laws in Georgia with unmarked cars Boston93. That is if you are talking about Georgia.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/24/10 - 09:18 pm
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Well if its worse than drunk

Well if its worse than drunk driving, then texting people have nothing to worry about because the punishment for drunk driving is a joke not a deterrant.

sm215
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sm215 03/19/10 - 10:44 pm
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tmyboy6988- The point is to

tmyboy6988- The point is to share their experience, in order to spread awareness of the danger. Caleb wasn't the only one who got hurt in this situation. His family was affected, along with the other family that was hit. If you were that family, wouldn't you be grateful that the other family is taking action and responsibilty?

I think it's a wonderful idea and I hope it gets passed.

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