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Widow of CHP officer supports new distracted driving bill

Last August, Keri Griess experienced a loss that every officer’s spouse fears. According to KRON4.com, her husband, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Kirk Griess, was killed while on duty.

Truck driver was on the phone when he hit Griess

But Griess did not die in a shootout with a suspect. A man in a pickup truck struck and killed him while he was making a traffic stop. An investigation into the incident revealed the man was speeding and using his phone while driving. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.

Keri believes more needs to be done to stop Californians from distracted driving. She has thrown her support behind Assembly Bill 47 (AB47). The bill proposes to increase the penalties for distracted driving.

Distracted drivers currently receive a $20 ticket

Currently, California drivers pulled over for texting are fined $20 the first time. For a second violation, they receive a $50 fine. Keri says a $20 fine is minimal, and it is not deterring drivers.

Bill would add one point to distracted drivers’ licenses

If AB47 passed, drivers ticketed for texting would receive one point on their driving record. Keri believes this measure will hit drivers in their pocketbooks, so it will be more effective.

Repeat offenses could increase insurance premiums

Points stay on a driver’s record for years. Four points within 12 months will cause a license suspension. Even two points can increase your car insurance premiums.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier is the chair of the transportation committee and authored AB47. He also knew Officer Griess, and his death along with the death of his daughter, motivated the creation of the bill. Frazier stated he wants to make roads safer for California drivers.

There is no formal opposition to the bill that aims to prevent distracted driving accidents.