Lawmakers support B.U.S.T. effort - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/23/09

Lawmakers support B.U.S.T. effort

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By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – NewsChannel 11's  "buckle-up and stop texting" campaign has caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington and Austin.

The B.U.S.T campaign launched last week by NewsChannel 11 and Sports Director Pete Christy is a safety campaign aimed at drivers of all ages. B.U.S.T. comes after the tragic death of Seagraves senior Alex Brown, 17, two weeks ago. Brown was texting and driving and troopers say she was not wearing her seatbelt.

Lawmakers from West Texas and the Brown family are speaking out in support of the BUST pledge because they all say this is a problem. "The rate of accidents with texting is astronomical and it's not just kids it is adults and everybody," says State Representative Joe Heflin.

Lawmakers say it is a nationwide problem that's only going to get worse. "We've seen it across the nation and here in West Texas. We've had very tragic situations where someone was texting or emailing while they were operating a bus, a train or cars and it's just something people shouldn't do," says Congressman Randy Neugebauer.   

Jeanne and Johnny Mac Brown are speaking out before this epidemic has the chance to get even worse. They buried their 17-year-old daughter Alex a week ago. She was texting a friend on her way to school when her truck swerved off the road. "Is that message that important? I'd urge children to not make their parents hold their hand while they die. That's the hardest thing I've ever done," says Johnny Mac Brown. 

"I set a bad example for my daughter because I did text and drive, but I don't now," says Jeanne Brown.  

If you are under 18 and behind the wheel it is illegal for you to use your cell phone. The law went into effect September 1st. "Did we do a poor job of letting kids know? Apparently we did," says Heflin about the existing law.

Even with a law in place Brown says it is up to your children to make the decision. "Until kids make the choice that they are more valuable than that text message it's not going to stop," adds Brown.  

Heflin says at some point there could be a law aimed at texting and driving for all motorists. "If we don't want to get to the point where we just ban all cell phone use, which there is a push to do that, then we are going to have to have people act responsibly," says the state representative.

Heflin signed the B.U.S.T. pledge Monday and says everyone needs to be aware of the grave consequences. "How many kids are going to lose their lives from texting?" he asks.

"If that text message is that important - pull over - so your parents don't have to find you and they don't have to bury you," pleads Jeanne Brown.

Congressman Neugebauer says he is going to sign the pledge. If you want to make the pledge to not text and drive fill out the B.U.S.T. form and send it to NewsChannel 11. NewsChannel 11 wants to keep up with everyone who takes the pledge.

B.U.S.T. Pledge Form - Buckle Up & Stop Texting
If you want to pledge to wear your seatbelt and not text while you drive, print out the B.U.S.T. Pledge form here.

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