Police to crack down on distracted driving

CHANTILLY, Va. (WUSA9) -- Thousands of people are killed every year in our country by drivers who are texting.

Police in Virginia are receiving additional training to step up enforcement starting in April which is 'Distracted Driving Awareness' month. Today's class included a heartbreaking story.

A driver who takes his off the road to read an email or text on, will not be able react to what is in the road. Police officers know that well, but this new training program, Fairfax County officers are also hearing from a mother who lost her 24-year-old daughter to a texting driver.

"I can't ever begin to describe the devastating impact that losing Lanie has had on me and her sisters," said Patty Kruszewski, whose youngest daughter Lanie, 24, was riding her bike in Richmond when she was hit by a Dodge Durango.

Her mother says Lanie had been saving up to buy a car, and road her bicycle everywhere. She was coming home from her job at a Richmond restaurant the night of July 29, 2012 when she was hit.

The driver, Elias Webb, was sending a birthday message to a friend. He did not even stop. He eventually was caught, and convicted for hit and run.

"I just think its ironic that the birthday message ended up on my daughter's death day," said Kruszewski.

Police are also learning about the psychology that which causes people to behave dangerously.

"Phone buzzes in the pocket, their brain says 'somebody likes me,' they feel good about themselves and that's how our bodies are conditioned to react these days," said Fairfax Master Police Officer Joe Moore.

Police say they can help break that desire to connect, with more enforcement, but, they say it may take a culture change to really stop the dangerous trend, just like it took to curb drunk driving.

"There's a social acceptance. We know it kills thousands of people every year. We know it causes almost 500,000 injuries. We just don't see it as that much of a problem. It's always, 'yeah, the other guy. We need to stop the other guy," said Moore.


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