Tragedy Precedes Maryland Cell Phone Ban

By Darcy Spencer and Ashley E. Brown
|  Saturday, Oct 2, 2010  |  Updated 12:15 PM EDT
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Maryland's Cell Phone Ban Comes Months Too Late for Couple

Doug Callahan, 52, died in a suspected distracted driving crash. His wife, Rhonda, survived and supports Maryland's new cell phone ban.

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Maryland's Cell Phone Ban Comes Months Too Late for Couple

For many drivers, Maryland's new cell phone ban probably means they'll have to think twice about using their mobile devices behind the wheel. For one woman in particular, the ban could mean that her husband's death will not have been in vain.
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For many drivers, Maryland's new cell phone ban probably means they'll have to think twice about using their mobile devices behind the wheel.

For one woman in particular, the ban could mean that her husband's death will not have been in vain.

Last May, Rhonda Callahan was critically injured after a teenaged driver struck her 1934 Chevy Street Rod on Route 301 in Bowie, Md., police said. Callahan's husband of 30 years, Doug, was killed.

Police say the teen involved in the crash ran a stop sign and was likely texting at the time.

"You don't realize how quickly your whole life can be affected by a car accident," said Callahan on Friday, the day the new phone ban took effect. "[Doug] was 52. It was too early."

Callahan says it was a miracle she survived the crash. She spent five weeks in the hospital and underwent 11 surgeries.

"I definitely had angels with me," Callahan said.

The new ban makes distracted driving a secondary offense, meaning police may only bust drivers for using a cell phone behind the wheel if they're pulled over for another violation first.

Callahan hopes that this part of the law will change. In the meantime she hopes the law in its current form will bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. She also hopes to continue to heal, in honor of her husband.

"He would want us to do that. He would want us to move on and not dwell on things, and just start living again. So we're going to do the best we can."

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