New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 11, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
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• Drivers’ inattention causes 20 to 30 percent of accidents, or about 1.6 million of the 6.3 million accidents in 2000. Advocates for Cell Phone Safety say cell phone use in automobiles can be deadly.
• The cellular industry says its phone are safety tools for drivers and their families while on the highway.
Kandace Krueger, niece of Comal Independent School District trustee Dan Krueger, • will compete in the Miss Universe Pageant today in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Krueger was a student at Texas A&M University when she won the Miss Texas title in September 2000, and she won the Miss USA crown on March 2. Dan and Becky Krueger caught up with the new Miss USA when she visited Tanger Outlet Center in San Marcos in April.
Driver distraction or lifesaver: Congress debates cell phones
By Jonathan D. Salant
Associated Press WriterComal County’s universal ties
WASHINGTON (AP) — The cellular phone: The newest terror on the highways, or a minor distraction that has saved lives?
It all depended on who was talking Wednesday at a congressional hearing long on anecdotal evidence and short on statistics.
Patricia Pena, her voice cracking, told a hushed committee room of the death of her 2-year-old daughter, killed in an automobile accident involving a driver who ran a stop sign while talking on a cell phone.
“We waited and we prayed. Then the doctors walked in the room,” said Pena, unable to hold back her tears.
“The industry will try to say there are so many other distractions in vehicles,” said Pena, a Pennsylvania resident, who founded Advocates for Cell Phone Safety after her daughter’s death. “Cellular telephone use is a more complex and demanding task. There are simply not comparable distractions.”
Last month, model Niki Taylor was severely injured when a car she was riding in crashed into a utility pole. The driver said he looked down to answer his cell phone before the car ran off the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a driver’s inattention causes 20 percent to 30 percent of accidents. That amounts to about 1.6 million of the 6.3 million crashes last year, or around 4,300 accidents a day.
“Who among us hasn’t been behind a car that is weaving or speeding up or slowing down for no apparent reason, only to find that the driver is more interested in reading the paper than watching the road,” said Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., chairman of the highways and transit subcommittee.
“My children have to be high on that list in terms of distractions,” said Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., father of three, aged 11,8 and 4.
The cellular industry’s top lobbyist, Tom Wheeler, offered some stories of his own: The family members who helped catch a kidnapper because they called police on their cell phone after spotting the suspect’s van on a highway. The 8-year-old who used his uncle’s cell phone to call for help after a boating accident.
“The wireless phone is the greatest safety tool since the development of 911,” said Wheeler, president and chief executive officer of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the industry’s trade group.Fewer Americans saving for retirement
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer U.S. workers are saving for retirement as the economy has sagged and confidence is eroding that they will have enough money to live comfortably, according to a survey released Thursday.
In the report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the American Savings Education Council, 71 percent of those polled said they have saved for retirement, down from 75 percent last year.On the Net: EBR!: http://www.ebri.org
Legislature sends hate crimes bill to
BY LISA FALKENBURG
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) — Its now up to Gov. Rick Perry to decide whether a bill enhancing penalties for crimes motivated by hate becomes law.
The Texas House on Thursday accepted Senate changes to the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, named for the East Texas black man dragged to his death from a pickup truck by three white men in 1998.
Perry’s spokesman said the governor will analyze the bill for a few days before deciding whether to sign, veto or let the bill become law without his signature. Perry has IO days to make a decision.
The bill strengthens penalties for crimes motivated by hate against a person because of race, religion, color, gender, disability, sexual preference, age, national origin and ancestry.
House sponsor Rep. Sen-fronia Thompson, D-Hous-ton, said the fate of the bill is in the governor’s hands.
“I’m not going to pick up the phone. I’m not going to ask him to sign it. I’m not going to ask him to veto it,” Thompson said. “The ball is
in his court. I’ve done my job. Now it’s his turn.”
Clutching a rosary, Thompson accepted several Senate changes to the bill, including one giving less-populated counties easier access to state money to prosecute hate murders. Thompson had considered rejecting the amendment, which would have sent the bill to a special committee where opponents would have another chance to kill it.
But with a little under three weeks left in the 140-day session, Thompson told the House she was satisfied with the amended bill. The House approved the bill 90-55.
One House member voiced concern about a Senate amendment that instructs the attorney general and the Texas Education Agency to develop a program about state laws on hate crimes. The program would be optional for schools.
“My concern is that we just put a vehicle in place to teach in our public schools values that are counter to what most of the families in the state teach,” said Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston.
Rogers, Mandrell reclaim country music spotlight
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. AP) — A theme of redemp-ion filled the Academy of Country Music Awards as everal once-fading artists eclaimed the spotlight.
The Dixie Chicks and Lee mn Womack claimed top onors Wednesday night with iree awards each, but the motional peak came when .enny Rogers and Barbara landrell accepted career-anoring awards.
Dubbed the Career chievement Award, Rogers’ >nor recognizes a country ‘Hornier who has returned popularity after falling out favor.
It has been presented only ree times in the show’s 36-ar history.
Mandrell took home the rprise Pioneer Award, lich recognizes an artist lo has expanded the bound-les of country music.
The Dixie Chicks took me honors for entertainer the year, top vocal group I best video.
Pastor Mike & Bonnie Fehlauer
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MOTHER’S DAY MAY 13, 2001
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