Md.'s Gov. Signs "Jake's Law" for Distracted Driving

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News4's Darcy Spencer spoke to Jake Owens' mother. The little boy was killed in 2011 when the car he was in was hit by a distracted driver. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    A Maryland mother's fight for stricter penalties for distracted drivers will finally become law.

    Governor Martin O'Malley will sign Jake's Law Monday. The law was named after 5-year-old Jake Owens, who was killed in a crash in 2011.

    "The guy was talking on his cell phone. The traffic had stopped, and he rear ended us at 62 miles per hour," said Jake's mom, Susan Yum.

    Yum said even though the driver went to trial on some serious charges, it didn't work out the way the family had hoped.

    "They found him not guilty of criminal negligent manslaughter and reckless driving, and he was only convicted of the two minor traffic offenses and given a $1,000 fine."

    So Yum used her anger and power as a mom to successfully push for change. This past legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed Jake's Law. Now a driver who causes serious injury or death while talking or texting can go to jail for up to a year

    "You know, no call or text is is more important than someone's life," Yum said. 

    Jake's family will be in Annapolis Monday when O'Malley signs the bill into law. Yum hopes the new law will encourage drivers to stay off their phones.

    "We did this not for Jake, but because of him. The entire point was that we don't want another family to have to go through what we did."

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