Officials warn travelers about distracted driving - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Officials warn travelers about distracted driving

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Thousands of people across Georgia and Alabama are getting ready to hit the road for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and officials say it can be dangerous.

"He swerved into the other lane and he hit another car head-on. The crash that he was in killed him instantly," said Alex Sorohan, describing her older brother's car accident.

Sorohan will never get to see her older brother Caleb again after he was killed in a car accident in December 2009. Officials say the primary contributing factor to that crash was a text message.

"Every Christmas, I think this Christmas, this Thanksgiving it will be easier, but then I get to that day, and I look around and I experience the day, and I think of all the times Caleb would be here smiling, and he'd be laughing or he'd be saying something hilarious, but he's not there to do it," said Sorohan.

Her brother's death inspired Georgia's texting and driving ban now known as Caleb's Law.

On Tuesday, Sorohan joined Georgia officials on a state-wide tour for Operation Safe Holidays. It is an initiative to emphasize the importance of travel safety during the holiday season

"The newest wrinkle in all this is texting and driving. We are losing too many people on our roads who are engaged in texting on a cell phone," said Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

In Georgia and Alabama, it is illegal to text while driving which includes writing, sending, or reading text based communication. Officials say the law applies even when you are sitting at a stop sign or a red light.

Officials say you can use a GPS for directions, but you cannot program it while you are driving.

Sorohan encourages everyone to make sure they aren't distracted in any way while driving.

"I promise you, you don't want to feel the hurt that my family feels every Christmas because of one second of poor choice that my brother made," said Sorohan.

Officials say they will not just be looking for texting and driving this holiday season.

They will have check-points to make sure people are using their seat-belts, and they encourage everyone to not drink and drive and to take your time and not rush to your holiday events.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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