• Mar 5, 2012

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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
      HunterCompany
      • 1 Day Ago
      My heart breaks for these parents. I can only imagine their anguish and texting while driving (distracted driving) is already against the law in almost every state. We have laws against murder, against bank robbery, against speeding, yet it doesn't stop some people who still do these things. Just like a bank robber, this poor young lady knew the risks and took the chance anyway. I can understand the parents being moved to action and I think they have a lot of good advice to offer a lot of people... particularly young drivers in prevention programs. However, we don't need more laws. It's a sad thing that we can't protect some people from themselves with more laws and it's frightening to think that we'll try. God bless the family.
      • 2 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.
      bochemilner
      • 2 Years Ago
      We have traffic laws on top of traffic laws and hardly anyone complies with them, so what difference will it make?
      hmadden
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am reminded of the words of a song from Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" (the animated version). In it, Alice sings "I always give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." Very sad.
      Nana & Popie
      • 2 Years Ago
      California has both laws against texting & using a hand held cell phone. It doesn't do much good as you see people everyday doing both of these things while driving. You just hope to God nothing happens to anyone around them.
      cliffy934
      • 2 Years Ago
      My wife's vehicle has the bluetooth in it, and I just had the bluetooth installed in my car. We can make calls and receive calls without ever taking our hands off the steering wheel. I think most of the new care are coming out has the bluetooth device in it. It is very unsafe to be looking at a screen on a cell phone and a key pad writing messages and driving at the same time. It only takes an instant for something to happen and you need to be very observant of what is going around you on the highway.
      Sammy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I feel badly for her family, and a young death is always tragic, but that could've been me and my family in that car in front of her, and we could've all died, too. It is not acceptable to do anything but drive when you're driving. You shouldn't even be leaning over to mess with the radio: that's why they put the buttons on the steering wheel, and that should be pretty much it for level of distraction. Instead, I see people texting, staring at their GPS screens, googling things, brushing their hair, putting on lipstick, engaging in full on involved conversation with the person next to them (complete with eye contact and emphatic hand gestures), digging through their CDs, fiddling with their iPods, etc. It's just as bad as drunk driving -- you are just as distracted and just as slow to react when you're involving yourself with things other than driving. Especially at 80 mph!
      • 2 Years Ago
      My condolences to the family of their tragic loss of Taylor, very sad. Teens should know not to text no matter if there is a ban or not in the state they live in. You don't need a ban, teens should know NOT to text and drive period, just turn off those cell phones while driving, this is the reason I don't own one of these new phones every kid has. Teens need to pay attention to the ROAD< not your cell phone LCD screen, my god, now look what happened to this beautiful young woman, Taylor Sauer, who had dreams and a future. For all the teens reading this, you better shut those phones off while driving. Texting can wait, your LIFE can't. Your life is more important than some text and conversation..jesus, you don't have a conversation while driving. I am so saddened that this young woman lost her life the way she did. Pay attention to the road, please. I hope I don't ever hear another story like this again.
      ppllaanntt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes,,,all this amazing technology,,,wow,,what a help.Now people can post useless garbage on their facebook page from their car.Great,,thank god for these great steps forward we have taken.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is very heartbreaking. My deepest sympathy to the family. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
      • 2 Years Ago
      the fact that she was going 80...and hit a truck head one is sick...imagen if it wasnt a truck? what if it was a car with a family in it ?
      • 2 Years Ago
      We too have lost a family member by someone on her computer while driving. Taylor killed herself, this person killed our family member. This never goes away. we have got to make it illegal to test, talk and drive. It does not make any form of common sense to be distracted while driving.
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