Heather Hurd Memorial Highway set

Distracted driving victim Heather HurdA stretch of Florida’s U.S. 27 has been named in the memory of distracted driving victim Heather Hurd.

The Jan. 5 ceremony, in Polk County, was attended by the parents of Heather, a 26-year-old whose death was caused by a text-messaging truck driver in 2008.

Russell Hurd, who has been active in lobbying for distracted driving laws nationwide, urged Florida legislators to pass its version of Heather’s Law during 2011. “We will never hear my Heather’s magical giggle ever again,” the father said at the ceremony. “Everyone here today has a Heather in their life.”

Heather’s family is from Maryland, where a law banning texting while driving was approved last year. In 2010, Florida SB 244 was filed as “Heather’s Law.” The bill, sponsored by Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, died in committee.

The tractor-trailer driver was fined $1,400 for causing the wreck that killed Heather Hurd and another woman. (He has since died.) Florida motorists know the winding highway as “Bloody 27.”

A sign noting the designation was placed on the highway, near Davenport, and the family received a replica.

“Our lives have been changed forever. In place of joy and laughter, there is sorrow and tears,” Russell Hurd told the second national Distracted Driving Summit in September.

In 2010, Florida legislators continued to ignore or reject legislation seeking to rein in text messaging and cell phone use by drivers. New Florida Gov. Rick Scott does not appear to be supportive of a handheld cell phone ban.

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