Mother close to fulfilling promise nine years after son’s death

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(WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been nine years since Paul Miller was killed a tragic car crash. Ever since then, the Scranton man’s mother has not stopped fighting for common sense laws to protect motorists and punish those who use their cell phones while driving.

Since 2010, Paul’s mother Eileen has been in Harrisburg advocating for future victims of distracted driving. It’s taken nearly a decade to get a bill in front of lawmakers.

Paul Miller of Scranton would be celebrating his 31st birthday next month. It’s been nine years since he lost his life in a motor vehicle crash.

“Nobody should have to go to a morgue and unzip a body bag and have to identify their child that way. That they are so badly unrecognizable that you have to unzip a body bag and look at their clothes from the night before. You should never have to do that,” Eileen Miller said.

On his way to work in July 2010, the driver of a tractor-trailer crossed the median on Route 33 in Hamilton Township and struck his Toyota Corolla head-on. The driver later admitted to using his cell phone before the crash.

“I vowed to him that I would make this promise that I would make change,” Miller said.

That change is happening nearly a decade later. Eileen is working with legislators. State Representative Rosemary Brown is sponsoring House Bill 37 that would impose a ban on hand-held devices while driving. Hands-free calling with Bluetooth would be allowed. If found guilty of using a cell phone while driving, it can carry a $200 fine.

“Common sense on this subject tells us and shows us on our roadways that we have a serious problem,” Brown said.

Brown spoke at last month’s Transportation Committee meeting where the bipartisan bill passed. It will now head to the House floor.

“Why are you so afraid of this and why is the common sense being lost in the process?” Brown asked.

“I hope by doing this it’s going to reduce a lot of people just by being on their phones,” Miller said.

Eileen and her husband see the tombstone in their backyard each day. While it shows that he’s here, they say it’s also a reminder that a future police officer lost his life because someone had a moment of inattention.

“As a person who has lost a child to it, people just do not do it because whenever they hear that ping, they want to reach for it and go for it and that’s when all the crashes happen,” Miller said.

Eileen said drivers need to know the acronym for PASS. No Phone, no Alcohol, no Speeding and wear your Seatbelt. She says it’s the best way to keep everyone safe.

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