Crash Victim Pushes for Harsher Distracted Driving Penalties

Published 08/08 2014 06:05AM

Updated 08/08 2014 06:08AM

LITTLE ROCK, AR--An Arkansas teenager seriously injured in a car crash is trying to keep you off your cell phone when you're on the road.

Grant Pyle is sharing his story with the public and lawmakers, hoping to spread awareness against distracted driving and stiffen penalties for offenders.

"All of a sudden I looked up and it was too late," explains Grant Pyle. "We had already swerved off the road and hit a mailbox. I couldn't move, then I was laying there, I was thinking, I'm paralyzed.

"I was on a ventilator, couldn't even breathe on my own," he explains.

After six months at Arkansas children's hospital , Pyle is proving even though most of his movements are limited, life goes on.

"I can feed myself, I can brush my hair, I have a girlfriend," he says, excited about his progress.

Pyle's relatives formed a chapter of FADD, Families Against Distracted Driving.

"He got a $300 fine and 120 hours community service," Pyle says of the driver.

FADD is taking Pyle's story to lawmakers pushing for stiffer penalties for distracted drivers.

Thanks to Paul's Law, since 2013 courts have handed down 344 convictions for texting and driving according to DFA Driver Services. The penalty for many? A $100 fine.

Representative David Fielding is trying to amend Paul's Law by adding escalating penalties and fines.

He says right now, enforcement is the largest hurdle.

"It's very difficult for law enforcement to pull you over you might not be texting you might be might be looking for a phone number."

Fielding is working out the kinks with law enforcement while Pyle hits the road settling into his new role as an advocate.

"It only takes a few seconds and you're paralyzed or you could die, it's serious," says Pyle

In the crash report, the driver in Pyle's accident first admitted to police he was texting then said he was changing a song on his phone.

FADD is working to get cities around Arkansas to declare August Distracted Driving Awareness month. You can learn more about their efforts here.  

(KARK, Little Rock)

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