Mother hopes story of daughter’s distracted driving death can ke - KPTV - FOX 12

Mother hopes story of daughter’s distracted driving death can keep others safe

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

The mother of a girl who died in a distracted driving crash wants motorists to put down the phone behind the wheel.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Shannon Moulton said her daughter’s story should be a wake-up call for everyone.

The car Alexyss Therwhanger was driving when she was killed just over a year ago is now just a mangled wreck.

Moulton said Therwhanger went off the road, over-corrected and was T-boned, dying instantly.

She also believes it happened because her daughter was on her phone, texting and posting to Facebook.

“It’s important for me to get the message out there that this was an unnecessary death,” Moulton said. “She was 19 years old when she died, she had her life ahead of her, and that one moment of an unnecessary text is what took her from me and my family.”

Experts at a distracted driving event in Salem Thursday said if a person is on their phone while driving, they are 23 times more likely to crash and may injure or kill someone else in the process.

With statistics like that in mind, lawmakers in Oregon are trying to crack down on distracted drivers and are trying to close loopholes in current law that overlook all the distractions that can happen with a smartphone beyond calls and texts.

One bill being considered right now, House Bill 2597, would increase the fines and penalties for those charged with distracted driving.

Another measure, Senate Bill 2, is sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney and could go even further by making distracted driving a felony if it’s passed into law.

A spokesperson for Courtney told FOX 12 that he believes distracted driving is an issue just like drunk driving and that cases won’t go down until penalties go up.

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