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Texting & Driving Death Used to Push for Safer Roadways

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- An Arkansas lawmaker is continuing a team effort to stop texting and driving, with the help of a Rogers mother.
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- An Arkansas lawmaker is continuing a team effort to stop texting and driving, with the help of a Rogers mother. In Washington, D.C. Thursday, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor highlighted his efforts to keep Arkansas highways safer. In 2012, Pryor pushed a measure through Congress to protect drivers, with the help of Merry Dye, of Rogers. Dye's daughter, Mariah, was killed in a texting-and driving-related crash back in the summer of 2009. And on Thursday, Pryor focused on the tragedy, and "Mariah's Act," to help prevent another one like it from happening again. "We've all done it," said Pryor. "Taken our eyes off the road for just a second to grab directions, answer a phone call, or change the song on the radio. But as I've told my kids, it can wait. When we're distracted on the road, we're not only putting ourselves at risk, but our fellow drivers at risk. Mariah's story is a tragic reminder of the consequences of distracted driving. We must continue to move forward with the implementation of my law so we can stop distracted driving and saves lives." Pryor says "Mariah's Act" is a great start. But in order to make it effective, Pryor says we need smarter technology and more education on the dangers of texting and driving. You can read the complete release from Senator Pryor's office below:

Pryor Seeks to Make Arkansas Highways, Families Safer
WASHINGTON D.C. - During a Commerce Committee roundtable Thursday, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor highlighted his efforts to crack down on distracted driving and make our highways safer. In 2012, Pryor pushed a bipartisan measure through Congress to strengthen highway safety with the help of Merry Dye of Rogers, Arkansas whose daughter was tragically killed while texting and driving.

“We’ve all done it-taken our eyes off the road for just a second to grab directions, answer a phone call, or change the song on the radio. But as I’ve told my kids, it can wait. When we’re distracted on the road, we’re not only putting ourselves at risk, but our fellow drivers at risk,” said Pryor. “Mariah’s story is a tragic reminder of the consequences of distracted driving. We must continue to move forward with the implementation of my law so we can stop distracted driving and saves lives.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 who were in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. At any given moment, nearly 660,000 American drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving.

Excerpts from Merry Dye’s letter, which Pryor read to the Commerce Committee, can be found below:
In 2009 I lost my daughter Mariah in a single vehicle collision involving texting and driving. Mariah was a great multi-tasker. She believed in doing it all. She was a full time high school student, writing for the school newspaper, working 35 hours a week, staying connected to friends while listening to music and enjoying her latte type of girl. Adding driving to the mix was a lethal combination.
We need to work together to find a solution…Mariah’s act introduced in 2011 by Senators Pryor and Rockefeller was a good start. We need to accurately assess the problem via organizations like NHTSA. We need to educate the population about distracted driving.
We need laws that have teeth. We need smarter technology that understands there is a time and a place for our endless need to connect…We need large scale education to change public opinion that at this time we need to take a step back. …When we get in a car we should be focused on just driving. To make any other choice is unconscionable.
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