US Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
www.dot.gov/briefing-room.html

DOT 104-11
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Contact: Justine Adelizzi
Tel: (202) 366-4570

U.S. DOT Releases New "Faces of Distracted Driving" Video
As Part of Drive Safely Work Week
Russell and Kim Hurd of Abingdon, Maryland Speak
About the Loss of Their 26-year-old Daughter Heather


WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Faces of Distracted Driving" series, featuring Russell and Kim Hurd of Abingdon, Maryland who lost their 26-year-old daughter Heather.

WATCH: "Heather Hurd, 26" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc7nviub_Tk

On January 3, 2008, Heather Hurd and her fiancée were scheduled to meet her parents at their wedding planner's office in Orlando, Florida. On the way there, a tractor-trailer traveling at 65 miles per hour hit their car - and eight others - while they were stopped at a red light. The truck driver, who was texting with his company at the time of the crash, never applied his brakes. Heather died at the scene.

In memory of their daughter, Russell and Kim Hurd have become outspoken advocates against distracted driving. They successfully lobbied for the passage of "Heather's Law" in 2009, which prohibits drivers in their home state of Maryland from texting behind the wheel.

"Heather Hurd was a young woman with her entire future ahead of her. And her plans were cut tragically short because someone made the decision to use a cell phone while driving," said Secretary LaHood. "No text message is worth a life, and I hope that everyone who hears Heather's story will remember to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving."

"Everybody has a Heather in their life - someone they love more than anything who they would do anything to protect. And we all owe it to these loved ones to change our habits behind the wheel," said Russell Hurd. "My message is simple: turn the cell phone off and focus on safe, distraction-free driving."

Today's video is being released in conjunction with the launch of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) 2011 Drive Safely Work Week Toolkit. This free toolkit, produced by NETS in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, is designed to help companies address distracted driving and improve the driving safety of their employees. The theme of this year's campaign is "Focus360°...Getting there safely is everyone's business." To download materials and to find more information visit: http://www.trafficsafety.org.

"Faces of Distracted Driving" is a video series that raises awareness about the potentially tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving by sharing the stories of family members who have lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. The series is part of Secretary LaHood's effort to raise greater awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

WATCH: "Faces of Distracted Driving" - www.distraction.gov/content/faces

The U.S. Department of Transportation encourages anyone who would like to share their distracted driving experiences to email: faces@distraction.gov.

To learn more about USDOT's efforts to stop distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov.