POLITICS

Time is running out to pass texting-and-driving 'Jake's Bill'

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(WJLA) - Little Jake Owen was just 5 years old when he died in a horrific car wreck.

His family's car was rear-ended by a cell phone-using driver who never even touched the brakes before impact.

That driver got two tickets and paid a fine.

Now, three years later, Jake's mother is on a grief-driven mission - to pass a new law, named for her little boy.

"We do this not for him, but because of him - and we do it because we don't want any other family to go through what we did," said Susan Yum, Jake's mother.

Jake's Law would make it a misdemeanor punishable by fines and even jail time if a cell phone-distracted motorist talking or texting causes injury or death.

"Maryland already has a ban on handheld cell phone use and texting while driving, so what this bill says is, if you kill or seriously injure someone breaking that law, that there's going to be consequences," Yum explained.

The bill enjoys widespread support, but now it has hit a legislative roadblock, because Maryland's Senate and House of Delegates passed very different versions of the bill.

Those differences need to be reconciled - and, as one of the bills' sponsors notes, time is running out.

"It's Wednesday, and we are done Monday," explained Sen. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery Co.). "We need to add the House provisions to the Senate bill."

That is why Susan Yum is renewing her emotional appeal to lawmakers - to work out their differences, in the name of her deceased son.

"I want them to see him for how alive he was," Yum told ABC7. "He loved...he had a great deal of energy, loved sports, loved playing baseball, and playing with his dad."

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