It’s very difficult to address the idea that one could meet one’s mortal end in a manner that is describable as a really dumb way to die. Yet people are taking their lives in their hands for some of the point blank stupidest reasons. It’s not an urban legend that a 32-year-old woman, Courtney Ann Sanford of Clemens North Carolina, had been taking selfies and posting them to Facebook immediately before her fatal accident. The last posting to her timeline was at 8:33 AM, and the High Point Police Department was called to the scene of an accident at 8:34. In just one minute, her life was over.
These stories are repeated all over the United States, and it’s not just teenagers who are doing it, though they are everyone’s favorite scapegoat because of their use of mobile phones and tablets. In Leawood, Kansas, a state trooper who was talking to his girlfriend and using email while on his way to a call struck a car carrying two teenaged girls, killing them both instantly. The trooper, who was driving at 126 mph and had been involved in previous crashes while a state trooper, was given 30 months’ probation for the 2007 incident but served no jail time, though as of 2014 he still has not had his driver’s license reinstated.
Distracted Driving Kills
According to the US Department of Transportation 3,154 people were killed and over 300,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes during 2013. In fact there are only four states that permit any texting behind the wheel at all. The Governors Highway Safety Association lists state laws on cell phone use and texting while driving alongside other offenses such as aggressive driving, child passenger safety, drunk and impaired driving, helmet laws, and speed limits. And the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, tracks depths from distracted driving as they track deaths from heart attacks, and cases of infectious disease.
- In the United States 69 percent of drivers ages 18 to 64 reported talking on their cell phones.
- In that same age group, 31 percent reported reading or sending email or text messages while driving.
Texting can take the driver’s attention away from the road frequently, and sometimes for longer periods required to compose a message. In fact, texting while driving is considered a high risk activity on par with being legally drunk behind the wheel. Insurance companies are increasing their rates for those age groups most typically involved in texting crashes, and a ticket for distracted driving can increase your insurance rate just the same as being busted at a DUI checkpoint. Talk with your insurance agent to find out all the ramifications of texting and driving, which in a court of law can be determined to be negligence behind the wheel. Drivers who are involved in such accidents are liable for the damages inflicted on their passengers, as well as on other drivers – extending to covering their medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage to vehicles and possessions, and pain and suffering.