Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council today announced its support for Rep. Betsy Markey’s (D-CO) introduction of Erica’s Law (H.R. 5097). The legislation would help protect children from distracted drivers in school zones. Erica’s Law also would tie federal transportation funding to state legislative action to penalize states that do not ban the use of handheld and hands-free communication devices in school zones.
Erica’s Law is named after 9-year-old Erica Forney of Fort Collins, CO. Erica was riding her bike home from school in November 2008 when she was struck and killed by a distracted driver using a cell phone. Shelley Forney, Erica’s mother and founding board member of FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving, became an advocate for distracted driving prevention laws after the loss of her daughter.
“My family and I thank Rep. Markey for her leadership in this important initiative. Erica’s Law will help prevent similar tragedies from occurring. Our daughter’s memory will be forever remembered through this legislation and will help protect children across the nation,” Forney said.
Markey also recently founded a bipartisan Distracted Driving Awareness Caucus with Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE). The caucus will work with other U.S. Representatives to address the dangers of distracted driving, an issue that impacts all Americans. An estimated 11 percent of drivers at any one time are using cell phones, which increases their crash risk by 4 times.
The National Safety Council estimates at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes – or 1.6 million crashes – each year involve drivers using cell phones.
Note: NSC updated its annual attributable risk estimate in 2011 using new data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The updated assessment estimates that at least 23 percent of all traffic crashes - or at least 1.3 million crashes - involve cell phone use per year. An estimated 1.2 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones for conversations and at least 100,000 additional crashes can be related to drivers who are texting. Cell phone conversations are involved in 12 times as many crashes as texting.
To learn more about cell phone use while driving, visit distracteddriving.nsc.org.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.