KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee woman is wanting your signature. She’s sharing a petition focused on calling 911.
Over 5,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to make a law requiring people to call 911 for a person in distress.
Allison Bennett started this petition for her friend, Eric Ashby, who went missing during a rafting trip in Colorado. His remains were found a month later.
In the petition, Bennett also points to the death of Zach Munday, killed from a head wound suffered at a party. Court paperwork noting that according to a surgeon, Munday’s injuries were treatable, had he been taken to a hospital sooner.
Bennett says she’s been pushing for change ever since Ashby died, “It’s just heartbreaking to know that four of his friends could leave him that way without even calling for help.”
Eric’s Law is referenced in her petition, making it a duty to call 911 if someone is in distress.
“A simple phone call to save a life. I don’t think that’s asking too much,” said Bennett.
Other states have Eric’s Law. Colorado is one of them.
“Colorado is different from Tennessee. It’s [legislation in Tennessee] something that’s going to need to be carefully drafted and carefully crafted,” said Representative Jerome Moon who represents Blount County District 8.
Representative Moon says a law like Eric’s Law is new ground, “We’re all carrying a device with us where we could immediately call someone for help. But you have to balance that with first amendment issues, a person’s right to free speech. Does that include someone’s right not to speak?”
Bennett is wanting to circulate the petition to show that Tennesseans want this law.
“It could be you. It could be your child, your spouse, your mother. They might be the ones needing help next and do you want that person to turn their back? Or do you want them to call for help and save their life,” said Bennett.
Representative Moon says he drafted similar legislation last year but it never moved forward.