A fatal car accident that occurred in California this week is said to have been caused by a driver who was distracted by a text message on their cellphone at the time of the crash. There are also allegations that the individual was driving under the influence of drugs when he did not see a traffic stop ahead of him on the road and failed to slow down.
The driver had been previously cited for other traffic violations and has past convictions for distracted driving and racing on a public street, both of which are reckless behaviors. California Highway Patrol officers arrested him after this crash and he is being charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.
In a case like this there can be a lot of questions about how the accident occurred, why it was deadly, and if anything could have been done to prevent it. These questions can be answered as a result of a police investigation and during the criminal process, as well as in a civil suit seeking compensation and culpability from the driver brought by the victim’s families.
A spokesperson from the California Highway Patrol issued a statement reminding drivers that using a phone behind the wheel is dangerous and can cause a fatal car accident. Texting while driving is illegal in California but can be difficult for police to enforce. As a result there has been a big emphasis on increased public awareness of the dangers of texting while driving as a way to discourage the dangerous conduct.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Cell phone use blamed in fatal Santa Rosa crash,” Kurtis Alexander, March 18, 2014.