Recently, there has been a lot of debate over the safety of texting while driving. Most law enforcement officials and legislators cite the dangers of paying too close attention to one’s phone and not the road. In Santa Rosa, a fatal car crash that occurred on Saturday, March 15th has been deemed just such a case of the threat that texting while driving poses.
30-year-old driver (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) made no secret about the fact that he was texting while driving when the accident occurred. In fact, this is not the first time that he has been in trouble with the law for traffic safety violations; he has 1 conviction already for texting while driving and another for street racing. What was different this time is that 53-year-old and her mother-in-law were killed in the crash. Thus, he was also arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter.
California law rose to meet public concern over texting while driving in January of 2009. (CA Vehicle Code 23123.5) makes it a crime to use one’s cellular phone or other “wireless communication device” to text or otherwise communicate while that person is driving a motorized vehicle. For a first offense, a person could pay a $20 fine; subsequent offenses result in a $50 fine each. Of course, local law enforcement officials warn that paying a simple fine is very different than the worst result of texting and driving, the death of one’s self and/or others.