Gina Head-Hieber spent February 23, 2016, in testimony before the House Transportation Committee. She told them about her son, Tyler Head, who had been killed by an impaired driver on February 3, 2012, at 7:30 in the morning. She was there because she had called State Representative, Joe Pitts, and her local State Senator, Kerry Roberts, to ask for legislation that would allow for Memorial Signs to be erected at the site of drunk driving crashes in Tennessee.
“It’s not only an opportunity to memorialize those who have tragically lost their lives to drunk drivers, but will serve to remind Tennesseeans of the danger of driving under the influence. The signs, which cost very little, will be a very visible tool in our efforts to combat driving under the influence,” said Roberts. The bill introduced would allow families to apply for a memorial sign stating “In memory of (victim’s name.) A second sign would say, “Impaired driving costs innocent lives.” An amendment clarified that the bill would only allow the signs to be placed on non-interstate roadways. Pitts added, “Gina is the reason this bill is here. (She) believed, as we do, this tragedy gives us an opportunity to tell their stories, and prevent more innocent lives from being lost by impaired drivers through a poignant message on the sign.”
Her testimony made quite an impression. The bill, Tyler’s Law, HB1514/SB1730, passed unanimously through the House Transportation Committee, moved through the judicial process, and eventually went on to pass unanimously in the Senate. It was signed by Governor Bill Haslam on April 28, 2016.
On June 3, 2016, at 10 a.m., there was a ceremony to commemorate the first of these memorial signs to be erected: a sign in honor of Tyler Head. The ceremony took place on Madison street near where Tyler was killed on his way to classes at Austin Peay University. A representative of Austin Peay was also there to honor Tyler with a diploma posthumously. The law will officially take effect on July 1, 2016. New victims of drunk or drugged driving after July 1, may apply for a memorial sign through the Tennessee Department of Transportation after their case has been adjudicated. Click here for more information on the June 3rd ceremony.
Thank you, Gina, for your determination on this important project to honor victims and educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving!
MADD asks that everyone remember to thank your local State Representatives and State Senators for their support of this bill. (Just enter your address for a list of the legislators for your district with contact information included.)
First DUI Victims Sign Unveiled on Friday June 3, 2016 The Leaf Chronicle