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Family urges texting ban at highway dedication

Bartow, Florida -- Three years to the day that 26-year-old Heather Hurd was killed in a chain-reaction crash in Polk County, a portion of U.S. Highway 27 is officially renamed in her honor.

On January 3, 2008, Hurd and her fiance were heading to Disney World to meet a wedding planner.  Heather had realized a lifelong dream and was working at Disney.  She planned to get married there, too.

That day, Hurd and her fiance were stopped at a light near the intersection with Salt Mine Road when a tractor trailer crashed into them.  Hurd and another woman were killed.

Investigators believed the truck driver was driving beyond the number of hours allowed by law.  Hurd's family think he was also using his cell phone at the time of the accident. He was found guilty of careless driving with a fatality and fined more than $1400.  The driver died in 2009.

In 2010, the Florida legislature voted to rename a portion of U.S. Highway 27 after Heather Hurd.

Three years after her death, her parents and brother were presented with a replica sign.  But they told 10 News what they really want is a law banning cell phones behind the wheel in Florida.

"People forget the deterrant factor," said Russell Hurd.  "Just because it's against the law, automatically someone will stop...Will it end all distracted driving? Of course not....It's baby steps and we'll get something passed in 2011, I'm sure."

The Hurds were instrumental in passing Heather's Law in Maryland which bans all hand-held cell phone usage by drivers. A similar bill failed in Florida in 2010.

You can help prevent distracted driving accidents by taking the 10 News Great Hang Up Pledge.  Click here to make the promise!


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