A jury in Mobile recently assigned guilt to a man behind the wheel of a pickup truck involved in a fatal crash in 2014. The collision killed a 24-year-old Mississippi woman. Defendant, 23, reportedly looked down at his phone for just a few seconds before looking back up to realize the vehicle in front of him had stopped. He swerved to avoid a rear-end collision, but ended up striking another pickup head-on, causing the second truck to roll and ejecting its driver.
Prosecutors say he was “fixated” on his smartphone at the time of the wreck. AL.com reports that in the 1 hour 25 minutes before the crash – the whole time of which he was driving – defendant reportedly checked instant messages, looked at dating site profiles, accessed Facebook and Twitter and updated his own dating site profile. The last time he accessed his phone, records show, was 32 seconds before the 911 call about the wreck.
This kind of situation is not uncommon. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports every single day in this country, 9 people die and another 1,153 are seriously injured in distracted driving crashes. And yet, last year when the Alabama legislature had the chance to expand its anti-texting law to encompass other forms of driving distraction, it declined to do so. The bill would have banned not just texting, but personal grooming, reading, writing, interacting with pets or engaging in any action that prevents a driver from devoting necessary attention to driving.
But, there is some good news, auto manufacturers are taking action. In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), vehicles equipped with front-end crash prevention are far less likely to rear-end other vehicles. Rear-end collisions in Alabama are among the most common types of distracted driving crashes. Continue reading