• Mar 5th 2012 at 2:00PM
  • 488

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Taylor Sauer, a college student driving home on a lonely road, was texting with a friend via Facebook when her car crashed into a tanker truck at 80 miles per hour, killing her instantly. The tragic irony of the situation was revealed in her phone records shortly after: At the time of the accident, she had been texting about the dangers of texting and driving.

Her last message, sent moments before the crash on Jan. 14, said, "I can't discuss this now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha."

According to the phone records, Sauer, 18, was posting on Facebook about every 90 seconds.

"I think she was probably (texting) to stay awake, she was probably tired," Taylor's father, Clay Sauer, told Ann Curry on The TODAY Show. "But that's not a reason to do it, and the kids think they're invincible. To them, (texting) is not distracting, they're so proficient at texting, that they don't feel it's distracted driving."

Taylor's parents have since become activists in their home state of Idaho, trying to get the government to pass laws against texting while driving.

(See the clip from TODAY above).

Because of texting-while-driving deaths like this one, the federal government is moving to limit in-vehicle communications technology that turns cars and trucks into virtual rolling smart-phones.

Last month, U.S. Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood announced a new set of proposed distracted driving guidelines for automakers that would limit the use of in-car tech solutions that are "not directly relevant to safely operating the vehicle, or cause undue distraction by engaging the driver's eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while driving."

Specifically, DOT is recommending automakers withhold technology packages that require both hands to operate or that could take a driver's eyes from the road for more than two seconds. Further, DOT wants technologies that require detailed input from the driver to be disabled while the car is out of park. That would include text messaging and internet browsing along with such tasks as address entry into navigation systems and manual phone dialing.

Future guidelines may include recommendations to manufacturers of aftermarket devices like smart-phones, portable GPS units and tablet computers. It's important to note that these guidelines are recommendations, not mandates.

The controversy that will play out in the coming months and years is obvious: Drivers are so attached to mobile devices that if automakers don't keep innovating ways to stay connected hands-free, people will inevitably be drawn to using their mobile devices in ways that, it can be argued, are more dangerous.

To read more on incidents of texting tragedies, try reading: Death By Texting, about a Michigan man convicted under a new state law, and More Death By Texting stories.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 488 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Taylor Sauer and Cassandra Kerfoot both HUGELY talented young people have died from texting while driving in the state of IDAHO. LET'S get a law in place PLEASE that will perhaps help their young brothers and sisters realize that this action DOES kill... just like seat belts it will become something that you know is the law and you have to comply with the rule.
      sabres8ter
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pretty soon there will be a law for EVERYTHING. If people just used a little commen sense it would probably save their life.
      NKS55S
      • 3 Years Ago
      Humans not all are their own worst enemys thoughtless, selfish, with a lack of respect for the laws with no regard for themselves or others. Thus more people of all ages bill die along with the innocent adolecents. SELFLESS HUMANS will continue to kill all in the name of its my rights or your discriminating or just what ever .
      • 3 Years Ago
      I feel that every state should make it a law that you DO NOT TEXT OR USE CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. There should be very stiff fines for both.
      LindyK
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's obvious she didn't learn about dangers of driving while texting. Maybe others will now after reading this.
      Paula
      • 3 Years Ago
      I feel terrible for her parents, but as a case for other college students and their parents, it's kinda hard to feel sorry, texting every 90. Trying to stay awake, ever hear of coffee? Not only is she dead, but she was driving at 80 miles an hour. Duh. She could have killed an innocent person. I wouldn't want one of my famliy members to be killed because something was so important that they couldn't pull over on the side of the road, text and then keep driving. Next thing you know, with these new tablets, they'll be watching movies while they are driving. I don't think some law is going to stop them, even if they get caught, what, they get a ticket, pay it and keep doing it. A terrible lesson learned for everyone. Sorry for her parents.
      • 3 Years Ago
      the only way to stop it .is to make phones that wont get a signal in a running vehicle.we have a law in nj. doesnt matter they still do it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A law being passed will do little in Idaho compared to what this tragic incident will do to preventing kids in Idaho from doing it. I'm sure every kid in her school, her friends, family, neighboring towns etc will think twice about texting in driving. If it's a law then they will just make sure they aren't caught when they see a cop drive by.
      filliperogers
      • 3 Years Ago
      Many more will be visiting a morgue unless car makers provide tech to disarm these tools of death as soon as the vehicle is put into drive! Younger people won't stop and we certainly don't need more of our politicans to pass laws to "protect us" any further. You cannot mandate common sense...... Car builders need to man up and put an end to this growing problem. Kinda like a safety on a gun that prevents discharging a firearm. It can't be as expensive as a funeral is...........
      • 3 Years Ago
      If my daughter is caught texting while driving, she loses the car for a month. Problem solved. Parents must take control of their teens.
      guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Darwin was right!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let me see if I've got this right... 'They' failed at parenting so now they're activist for locking down LAWS demanding to hold other parents accountable for their children? Please. America needs to seriously 'quit it' with all the knee-jerk, adolescent legislation. Campaign to EDUCATE and leave citizens to make, and be responsible for, their own decisions. Don't >ban< the rest of us or force us to be subjected to inhibitive technology. It's called being a responsible citizen. An adult.
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