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Stories From Main Street: Parents Who Lost Son Fight Distracted Driving

Family Begins Advocacy Group
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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CHAPPAQUA (CBSNewYork) — Two years ago, Evan Lieberman was killed after a driver who was allegedly using the Internet on his smartphone crossed a double-yellow line in Orange County and struck the car in which the 19-year-old was riding.

Now, Lieberman’s parents have started an advocacy group in an effort to save others from the same fate, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

In June 2011, Lieberman, who was living at home in Chappaqua after finishing his freshman year at the University of Connecticut, was carpooling in the backseat to a summer construction job when the accident occurred on Route 6 near the Woodbury Common shopping center.

Lieberman died a month after the crash from massive internal injuries.

Three of Lieberman’s friends were also injured.

Michael A. Fiddle said he fell asleep behind the wheel and was never charged by police.

But Lieberman’s parents, Ben and Debbie, sued Fiddle and subpoenaed his phone records, which showed data was being sent and received from the phone just before the crash.

A DMV administrative judge ruled that Fiddle was negligent and showed a “reckless regard for life.”

“We had the family that we created, that we wanted, that was ripped away from us suddenly,” said Debbie Lieberman, who also has two daughters.

Ben and Debbie Lieberman have formed the organization Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, or DORC. As part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, DORC speaks to schools about the dangers of texting while driving.

LINKSDistracted Operators Risk Casualties | It Can Wait Campaign

“We want to keep the DORCs off the road,” Ben Lieberman said. “We strongly believe that drivers should be concentrating on the lives that are in their hands and not the cellphones that are in their hands.”

Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T’s New York office, said drivers who pledge not to text while driving can download a free app that, when the phone’s owner is traveling 25 mph or faster, automatically replies to incoming texts by notifying people that the recipient is driving.

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