Robert Okerblom, a California resident, spoke at the Arizona State Capital on Monday in support of two bills that would ban texting while driving. On July 25, 2009, Mr. Okerblom’s nineteen-year-old (19) son Eric was hit and killed while riding his bicycle. After the accident, Mr. Okerblom said he did not understand how the driver did not see Eric before she hit him: “It was a clear day. There were no obstructions. It was a straight country road.” However, phone records later showed that the teen had been texting when she hit and killed Eric. According to Mr. Okerblom, Eric had hoped to join the University of California, Berkley cycling team, and “was the type of person you’d want your daughter to marry. The type of person you’d want to be your friend.” To honor his son, Mr. Okerblom started the Eric Okerblom Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for laws banning distracted driving. Mr. Okerblom also organized a cross-country bicycle trip in memory of his son. The bicycle trip, that began last month, goes from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida and passes through states such as Arizona that have little or no regulation regarding distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thirty states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving for all drivers regardless of the driver’s age. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of those states. Although Arizona lawmakers have considered regulating texting since 2007, none of the proposed bills have passed.
The two bills Mr. Okerblom spoke in support of are SB 1538 and HB 2426. SB 1538, known as the No Texting While Driving Act, would prohibit all drivers from reading or writing text messages on cellular phones while driving. Under this bill, a person found in violation would face a fifty (50) dollar fine that would increase to two hundred dollars (200) if the person is involved in a motor vehicle accident while texting. HB 2426, proposes to completely ban cell phone use by minors while driving. HB 2426 was held in the House Transportation Committee; however, proponents of the bill say it could come back as an amendment or strike-everything bill. In support of these bills, Mr. Okerblom said “People have the belief that their texting is an innocent thing and they won’t get into trouble . . . They don’t have a right to kill my family members. The roads are our public domains. We need to be safe there.”
If someone you love has been killed in an automobile related accident, contact the Phoenix wrongful death attorneys at the wrongful death law firm Oracle Law Group P.C. The wrongful death lawyers at Oracle Law Group P.C. have represented many families dealing with the pain caused by the wrongful death of a loved one. The Phoenix wrongful death attorneys at Oracle Law Group P.C. can help you during this difficult time by finding out why and how the death actually happened, and the wrongful death attorneys at the law firm Oracle Law Group P.C. will represent your interests against the parties at fault to recover damages on your behalf. Find a lawyer at Oracle Law Group P.C. for assistance with your wrongful death case.