Driving Distracted: Md. Couple Hope Tragedy Saves Lives

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) ―More than 5,000 people die every year as the result of texting while driving but a Maryland couple is trying to change that in their daughter’s memory.

Andrea Fujii has more on how you can help.

It was January 2008 in Orlando when 26-year-old Maryland native Heather Hurd was killed. She was on the way to meet with her wedding planner. A tractor trailer driver was texting when he rammed Heather’s car; she died instantly.

“How could somebody driving a vehicle that size take their eyes off the road, let alone try to text?” said Kim Hurd, Heather’s mother.

Nearly three years later, Hurd’s parents are back at Harford County Community College, where she attended school. They’re signing students up for a 5K run/walk in her memory. The goal is to help students with financial need and educate people on driving distractions.

“The most important thing is awareness and educating the driving public every day that these things are killing our loved ones,” said her father, Russell Hurd.

It’s now illegal to text or use a handheld phone while driving in Maryland. Twenty-one states have similar laws but the Hurds say that’s not enough. They helped pass Maryland’s legislation they’ve dubbed Heather’s Law. Now there are 29 more states to go, including Florida.

“The gentleman who was driving the tractor trailer did not break any law. He was traveling the right speed; he was not impaired in any way. He was texting, which wasn’t against the law and we thought that needs to change,” said Kim Hurd.

They say their only daughter would be proud at how they’ve turned her tragedy into their lifelong mission.

“I hope that she would say, `Good job, Dad,'” Russell Hurd said.

The Heather Hurd 5K run/walk is on Saturday, November 20, at Harford Community College. To sign up, click here.


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