Local lawmaker, resident pushing to prevent distracted drivers


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Texting and driving, talking on the phone while driving, telling your kids to settle down while driving, those are all examples of a distracted driver.

Real life issues Wilmington resident Colleen Osborn and Sen. Michael Lee are fighting to prevent.

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“If something isn’t done about this, you know, we’re going to have a state full of disabled people,” Osborn said.

“We keep seeing more and more issues with distracted driving,” Lee said. “When I talk to police officers, highway patrol, they keep talking about these issues as well and how they’re leading to so many accidents.”

It is a distraction Osborn said can be avoided.

“I mean driving is not a right it’s a privilege,” Osborn said.

People texting and driving have t-boned Osborn twice, injuring her back.

“Very angry,” Osborn said. “So I had to do something proactive with my anger. So this is my fight.”

Since then, she has been pushing for change. Inspiring Sen. Lee to co-sponsor and introduce two bills.

The first is the Brian Garlock Act, a bill that would enforce hands-free cell phone use while driving.

“Colleen’s involvement really got me really involved to the point where I co-sponsorred the bill with two other senators,” Lee said. “And I use that as an example and hopefully we’ll be able to bring this bill in and make it a law.”

The second is Senate Bill 333, making the use of your turn signal mandatory.

“People think that’s the law already. When you’re going to change lanes or turn. And actually the law provides that you don’t have to do it in all instances,” Lee said. “And the bill that I introduced says you have to do it in all instances.”

Those are all steps Osborn said are necessary to make the roads, and the community we live in, much safer.

“People complain about people picking up guns and killing other people. Well, it’s the same thing when you pick up your cell phone driving a however many ton car you’re in, plowing into someone,” Osborn said. “If you don’t kill them you’re going to hurt them.”

Osborn is asking people in the area to reach out to local and state lawmakers to help in her fight against distracted driving.

As for Sen. Lee, he said he plans to re-introduce both bills next year in the long session.