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Driving while holding cell phone may cost you

Post by Cole Cosgrove on April 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm with 6 Comments »
April 30, 2010 3:44 pm

The twisted metal and shattered glass of Heather Lerch’s black 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt served as a grim example Friday to raise awareness of a new cell phone law that will take effect June 10.

State Patrol Chief John Batiste, Licensing Director Liz Luce and state Sen. Tracey Eide praised the law at the news conference outside State Patrol and DOL offices in Parkland. The wreckage of Lerch’s car sat nearby on a trailer.

Lerch, 19, died instantly in a one-car crash Feb. 23 south of Olympia. It was a stretch of road she had traveled hundreds of times. Yet as she drove home from work that night, she was also sending text messages.

“Hey you and I need to hang sometime ;-)” she wrote. “Alright cool :-)”

That was her last text message, sent at 10:27 p.m. The first caller to report her crash dialed 911 at 10:30 p.m.

Her parents Dan and Wendy Lerch said they hope to save a life by speaking out. They said adults need to set an example for their children by not use cell phones or text while driving.

“I’ll never see my daughter again,” said Dan Lerch, as he wiped a tear from his eye and Wendy patted him on the back. “I think that’s the hardest part.”

The new law makes it a primary offense for drivers to send text messages or to talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device. The fine is $124. Drivers with instructional permits or intermediate licenses may not use a cell phone at all, even with a hands-free device.

Eide, a Federal Way Democrat who sponsored the bill and has fought for the ban for a decade, said it was heart-wrenching to look at Lerch’s car.

“It makes people realize it could be my son, it could be my daughter,” she said.

Eide said she showed a public-service video about the crash to her 23-year-old son.

“It really made an impact on him,” she said. “They think they’re invincible and immortal, and unfortunately they’re not.”

Here’s the 30-second public service video:

Happenings, Issues
Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. roadwork says:

    Not an adequate fine. Lifetime loss of your driving PRIVLEDGE would be much more appropriate!!!

  2. AinslingersFolly says:

    Please let this save lives…it amazes me that anyone would text while operating a motor vehicle and we are legislating common sense…

    and yet there are people who actually believe they are above the danger and are ‘skilled’ enough at multitasking…they are risking all of our lives not just theirs….

    “Hey you and I need to hang sometime” …doesn’t seem all that possible now…wonder how the person she texted feels about this awful tragedy.

  3. ldozy1234 says:

    Thank you to the Lerches for trying to reduce the risk to other kids. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. tacomaguy30 says:

    Put down the phone!!!! I hope they actually enforce this, though it’s doubtful.

  5. RBCharger says:

    I feel sorry for her family. I feel sorry for her too. It looked like she was a pretty girl with a lot of potential. But, you know what? – if someone is too be killed while texting, it is better that she died instead of her T-boning another car and killing that driver.

    Teenagers don’t think they are going to die. Fine. Just try not to kill someone else.

  6. Alinup says:

    Let’s stop our obsession with autos and electronic toys. We have no
    idea what it’s doing to our world. Look at the Gulf of Mexico.

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