'No cellphones for drivers' bill supported by parents of teens killed in distracted driving crashes

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The mangled wreckage of a grey car sits outside the Albemarle Building in Raleigh, where the state insurance commissioner has an office. It's also across the street from the Legislative Office Building, where lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the use of cellphones by drivers in North Carolina.

House Bill 144 is supported by parents like Amos Johnson. Nine years ago, his 16-year-old daughter was driving the gray car described above when someone texted her.

"She picked up her phone, looked at it, went left of center and hit a truck head on. She was airlifted to the hospital and she died while she was at the hospital," said Johnson. He said he doesn't want anyone else to experience the grief felt by his family.

Tammy Garlock has felt similar pain. Her son Brian died in Jun 12, 2008 in another distracted driver wreck. A truck hit his Honda Civic after he answered a call from his girlfriend.

"In less than two hours from the time this crash occurred, a trauma surgeon came into the room and changed life as my family knew it by saying, 'I'm very sorry but your son, he didn't make it,'" Garlock recalled.

They're two of the parents who, along with law officers across the state, want to see House Bill 144 become law. If passed, it would make driving and touching a cellphone illegal in North Carolina.

When Asked how state troopers would prove a driver broke that law, Colonel Glenn McNeill, commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said "Being able to talk with a person, and them self admitting what they were doing and also consenting to inspection of the phone."

A House committee will discuss the bill Wednesday.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.