• Aug 16, 2011
Many find it tempting to text while driving, but the re... Many find it tempting to text while driving, but the results can be disastrous (Hoquiam Police Department).
The evidence keeps mounting that texting while driving is too often destructive and deadly.

A fatal crash near Omaha, Nebraska in mid-July is being blamed on a driver texting while driving in the seconds prior to the crash.

The crash on Old Lincoln Highway that killed 19-year-old Elizabeth Chadwick and 18-year-old Jessica Weinfurter has been blamed by the Pottawattamie County Sherrif's office on texting while driving.

The sherrif told WOWT.com, the website for one of Omaha's top local TV stations, that while the victims blood showed small trace amounts of marijuana, there was no doubt that the driver who caused the accident was in the middle of texting when the incident took place.

North Carolina

In Asheville, North Carolina, a man entered a guilty plea last month admitting that he was texting behind the wheel when he struck and killed a motorcyclist. Highway officials said they believe it is the first case of its kind to wind its way through the state courts since North Carolina's texting ban law was passed in 2009.

Andrew James Watkins, 25, of Mecklenburg County, NC pleaded to misdemeanor "death by vehicle" in the August 2010 death of 39-year-old Joel Severson.

Watkins veered out of his lane and, while distracted, struck Severson's motorcycle. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence, 200 hours of community service and fined $1,000 plus court costs. Watkins also agreed not to use or possess a cell phone while driving.

A statewide ban on texting while driving was passed by the North Caroloina legislature in 2009. Talking on cell phones is legal for North Carolina drivers above the age of 18.

Michigan

Earlier this year, A Lapeer, Michigan man, 41-year old Jerry Joseph, who police say caused a fatal crash while texting and driving, was sentenced to just one month in jail and 12 months of probation. It was the first case of its kind in Michigan since the state passed a ban on texting while driving in August 2010.

Forty-one-year old Jerry Joseph pleaded guilty in April to a moving violation causing the death last November of 78-year-old Irene Paquin of Attica Township, Mich. Paquin, a grandmother, was the passenger in the car driven by her 81-year-old husband Paul. The Paquins were broadsided by Joseph's car.

Some lawmakers say the penalties under texting-while-driving laws aren't harsh enough, and need to be changed. Penalties for drunk drivers who cause a fatality are much harsher -- some states include a four-year minimum prison sentence and a permanent driver's license suspension.

Awareness of the dangers of texting-while-driving seem to be climbing, yet full appreciation of the problem has a long way to go. While most drivers see the moral hazard of driving while intoxicated, too few still think that checking email or answering a text while operating a motor vehicle falls into the same category.

Washington State

Though not, fatal, another accident was recorded this month and attributed to texting while driving.

Hoquiam, Washington police say a man who was texting while driving crashed into a parked car, then into a house.

A 23-year old man slammed slammed his SUV into a parked Toyota Yaris after careening across two front yards. After hitting the car, the SUV hit the side of a house, causing extensive structural damage to the home. The man driving the SUV admitted to police that he was texting while driving.

It could have been much worse, and fatal. The driver of the Yaris, a 30-year old woman, told police officers she had just parked her car and walked into her parents' house to retrieve her children when her car was hit.

Despite plenty of academic research demonstrating that texting while driving can be just as dangerous, or more so, as drinking and driving, a recent poll shows that most teens, for example, simply don't think that's the case. State Farm sponsored a poll conducted by Harris Interactive last Fall in which 14- to 17-year-olds were asked whether they thought they would die one day if they regularly text and drive. Only 35 percent strongly agreed with that statement. Meantime, 55 percent of teens think that drinking and driving could prove deadly.

Accident statistics meanwhile show that texting and driving is about three or four times more dangerous than operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs when operating a motor vehicle.



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  • 493 Comments
      Brandon Adkins
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, PennyOrder.com
      tazridesaharley
      • 3 Years Ago
      North Caroilia is one f**ked up state if you can kill someone with your car and only get a little slap on a wrist.The tek is out there to stop this.When your cell hands off to another tower it's only because you're moving and the call should be terminated.
      marian
      • 3 Years Ago
      Put down the phone...you cant watch TV and drive at the same time... it is simply logic...
      debi713
      • 3 Years Ago
      To these people who text and drive, what makes you think that it is so important that it can't wait and if it can't wait then pull off the road and text. I guess you think your text is more important then your life or someone elses. Good luck with that!
      dfoster
      • 3 Years Ago
      If that is really a photo of the vehicle they died in, then their deaths were really unnecessary - minor damage, two deaths -> no seat belts or shoulder harnesses used.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the penalty for killing someone while texting is only a suspended sentence and a small fine, there is no fear by the offenders. The majority of these texting incidents were by teens. Threaten and uphold stiffer penalties that should be part of the driving exam before getting a license.
      Hawaii33isWarm
      • 3 Years Ago
      PUT THEM ALL IN THE SLAMMER FOR TEN YEARS THEY WILL NOT TOUCH A CELL PHONE AGAIN.YOUNG AND STUPID GETS THE OLDER DRIVERS KILLED.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Texting and driving is dangerous as is just talking on the cell phone while driving. They should both be stopped.
      Adele
      • 3 Years Ago
      Proves how oblivious (would like to use the term "stupid) teens are if only 55% think that drinking and driving "could prove fatal". People--drinking and driving AND texting are dangerous! I don't care how old you are. Don't do it. If you can't abstain for yourself, abstain for the safety of others.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What do the texters think the car is going to do while they are texting? Cars should be more forgiving and learn to drive themselves until distracted people pay attention.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Install a chip that will not allow a cell phone to operate while the vehicle is running!
      Mom and Dad
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ok, imagine your grandmother or daughter or son heading to college gets killed by a texting driver and the driver only gets a month in jail? This is insane.
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