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A Mother Reflects on the Dangers of Distracted Driving

(You may have to copy and paste this link to the original story to hear the full interview)


Issues MPR News Staff · April 18, 2016

Robert Brau was a popular member of the University of Minnesota marching band. He played the mellophone. He would have turned 23 this month.

Instead, his mother Donna Brau will mark the second anniversary of his death this summer. He was killed in 2014 when another driver crossed the center line on Highway 12 outside Montrose, Minn., and struck his motorcycle.

It was a case of distracted driving. His mother joined MPR News host Tom Weber to talk about the dangers of drivers who take their eyes off the road — whether to use a cell phone, reach into the backseat or for any other reason.

"I still don't feel like an advocate," she said. "I still feel like a grieving mother. But when you look at the statistics, it's horrifying. There are 10 people who die every day — this doesn't include injuries. Ten people die every day as a result of distracted driving."

"If you do the math on that — Robert has been gone almost two years — that's 7,000 people who have died as a result of distracted driving since Robert was killed. And the laws have yet to be changed."

The driver who killed Robert was 17 at the time of the crash. Her sentence, Donna said, included community service, restitution and five days in a juvenile detention facility on the anniversary of Robert's death.

Donna would like to see penalties for the distracted driving change. "The penalties ought to be equal with drunk driving," she said.

To hear the full discussion with Donna Brau on distracted driving, use the audio player above.

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