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Woodbury man calls on lawmakers to increase carbon monoxide awareness

Kelly Lavers wipes a tear as her husband, Jeff, tells the House Transportation and Policy Finance Committee March 16 of the circumstances surrounding the death of their son, Tyler, from carbon monoxide poisoning while he was installing speakers in his car. The Lavers came to testify for the so-called "Tyler's Law," that would make carbon monoxide awareness part of driver's training. (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota House of Representatives)

If you've ever left your vehicle running in a confined space during the winter - with ventilation - you've been at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Didn't think so? Neither did a Woodbury teenager who died late last year.

"Even with the garage door up, the concentrations were enough to incapacitate him quickly," said Rep. Michael Beard, R-Shakopee, following testimony Wednesday at a legislative committee hearing from Woodbury resident Jeff Lavers.

Lavers asked House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee members to consider passing what's known as "Tyler's Law" - a bill named in honor of his son who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while installing car-stereo equipment.

The legislation calls for driver training instruction to include information on carbon monoxide dangers and requires a carbon monoxide-related question to be added to the Minnesota driver's license exam.

"With education comes empowerment," Lavers told committee members during testimony.

He described the tragic death of his son - an incident he said could have been avoided, had information on carbon monoxide been more prevalent.

Lavers called the bill, being sponsored by Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, "simple, inexpensive."

"Surely, critical, direct education of this danger can and will keep someone alive," he said.

The legislation will be considered for inclusion in a larger transportation bill.

See more on the story in the Bulletin's March 23 print edition.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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