ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — People who lost loved ones to distracted driving are not ready to accept this is the end of the road for a bill that could prevent it.
Families held pictures of their lost loved-ones gathered on the State Capitol steps after learning lawmakers won’t vote on the hands-free driving bill this session.
“We take this every day of our lives. We wake up to it and we go to bed to it and we don’t want anyone else to have to do this,” one woman said.
Impassioned pleas came from people who so intimately feel the pain.
“I need to figure out how to become a single mom,” Karin Ilg said.
Ilg brought the bicycle her husband was riding when a distracted driver struck and killed him last year.
“We need to put that addiction and that smart device down please do it now,” Ilg said.
The group of grieving families has pushed for a hands-free bill to ban hand held phones while driving.
Tuesday, they learned it would not be heard on the House floor.
“What happened today is morally reprehensible and corrupt government,” Greg Tikalsy said.
Officials say about 70 people die on Minnesota roads every year from distracted driving. One in four crashes is caused by someone on their phone while behind the wheel.
“If you’re not scared that distracted driving can kill you then maybe you should be scared you kill someone,” Danielle Wishard-Tudor said.
And so the group of people living with loss beg for others to join them in their effort to make legislators listen.
“This bill affects everybody and I’m sad and broken hearted that it affects me because I had to say goodbye to my nephew. I don’t want that for anybody else. It’s not too late,” Kathy Kostohryz said.
Sixteen other states have passed laws to restrict using the phone while driving.
There are enough votes to pass the bill in the House, but many of the votes would come from Democrats. Republican House leaders told WCCO’s Pat Kessler they won’t bring up the bill unless a majority of the votes come from Republicans.