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Texting leads to fatal accident, wrongful death suit

We have discussed the dangers surrounding teenage drivers many times. Because teenagers have been found more likely to text and drive, they are also more likely to be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents.

As a reminder of this extreme danger, we will discuss the story of a 17-year-old girl who got behind the wheel of her car with her cell phone within easy reach. This was all it took for her to get distracted from focusing on driving the minute a text came through from her then boyfriend.

She attempted to read the text, but as she was manipulating her phone, she drifted first onto the rumble strips, and then due to overcorrecting, into oncoming traffic. She struck another vehicle in a head-on collision.

When she was rescued from the fiery wreckage of her vehicle she would learn that she had taken someone else's life in that matter of seconds when she looked down at her phone. The driver who suffered the wrongful death was only 27 years old.

This woman pleaded guilty to using a cellphone and causing the fatal crash. Now she has to live with causing this young man's wrongful death for the rest of her life.

She now says she would never text and drive. She also takes her friend's phones from them and holds them while they drive. Perhaps by publicizing this story, drivers in Florida will realize the life-threatening risk of texting and driving and finally be willing to put away their phones and other electronic devices.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Forgettable text had a calamitous result," Pam Louwagie, May 12, 2012

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