Md. House committee approves bill granting jail time for drivers - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Md. House committee approves bill granting jail time for drivers who kill while using cellphones

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Jake Owen Jake Owen

A Maryland House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday evening to up the penalty for distracted drivers who kill someone while talking or texting on a hand-held cellphone.

It's a victory for Susan Yum, who has been on a mission since her 5-year-old son, Jake, was killed when a 23-year-old driver struck their family vehicle from behind, going 62 miles an hour and using a cell phone at the time.

The legislation, named Jake's law after her son, was amended to allow a sentence of up to one year (instead of three years) for defendants accused of using a cell phone in an accident in which someone is killed. In Yum's case, the driver got two traffic tickets and was fined $1,000.

Under Jake's law, if prosecutors can secure a conviction for criminally negligent manslaughter, they could pursue that to try to get a maximum 10-year prison term.

The legislation still has to be approved by the full House and the Senate.


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