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ASU student educates others about distracted driving

Student tests out driving simulator Student tests out driving simulator

More than 3,000 people are killed each year in the U.S. as a result of distracted driving, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Board and the Centers for Disease Control.

It's a sobering statistic one ASU student is working to change.

Jordan Hibbs, a Barrett Honors College senior, held a distracted driving awareness event on campus Wednesday evening.

Her goal is to drive home the dangers of not focusing on the road.

Hibbs pointed out one of the biggest mistakes people off all ages make is texting while driving.

"Driving is something that's part of our daily lives, and, it can also end lives," she said. "So, it's really important to see that you have to be focused on the road, that you have to be paying attention or it can have fatal consequences."

Some students who attended the event, co-sponsored by AT&T, State Farm Insurance and the ASU Undergraduate Student Government, admitted they do text and drive, even though they know they shouldn't.

As part of its "It Can Wait" campaign, AT&T set up a simulator that shows just how dangerous texting while driving is.

Most students either drove too fast or too slow while texting.

One drove on to a sidewalk, while another crashed into a car.

While that simulator proves an important point, actually hearing from someone who has lost a loved one, due to distracted driving, is even more powerful.

"My husband was a wonderful man and he is so deeply missed," said Rosemary Frassetto, one of the speakers at Hibbs' event.

Rosemary Frassetto's husband of 23 years was killed by a red light runner in November 2012.

"It was pretty traumatic," she said.

Frank Frassetto, 67, was hit by a car, while in a crosswalk, at the intersection of 28th Drive and Peoria Avenue in Phoenix.

"His brain had shifted 11 millimeters in his skull," said Rosemary Frassetto. "He was hit so hard, he flew out of his shoes."

The driver who hit him was an 18-year-old high school student, who was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

"We need to draw more attention to being more serious when you're behind the wheel," said Rosemary Frassetto. "You have a machine that can kill."

Since her husband's death, Rosemary Frassetto has become a board member of the group Red Means Stop and an advocate to end distracted driving of any kind.

"So many families are destroyed because of that one second you took your eyes off the road," she said.

Another distracted driving awareness event will be held Thursday, Jan. 30, from 9:45 a.m. to noon, on the Student Services Lawn at ASU.

Students can test out the simulator and sign a pledge not to text and drive.

5 bills proposed in Legislature

There are five different bills being proposed in the Arizona Legislature that deal with talking and texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

One would require all drivers to use a hands-free device.

Another would ban writing, sending and reading messages, but drivers still be allowed to type in a phone number.

Another proposal would ban phones for drivers of taxis, buses, limos, or any public transportation.

A final bill sets a fine of up to $10,000 for texting while driving if a person causes a crash that leads to someone's death.

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