Texting driver convicted of vehicular homocide.

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BAL
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Postby BAL » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:06 am

jzmtl wrote:I was mostly referring to your statement of "anything that distracts or lowers your driving skills and awareness as an impairment", and your 2nd part of bold text does reinforce my point of any person emotionally involved cannot make a rational decision. It's a very wide brush there, what about driving home after work and you are tired, or you are pinching a loaf and gotta go, they all qualify as impairment under your definition. but in these cases you didn't choose to be distracted (well I guess you could argue otherwise, but that's why there are lawyers). There are things such accidents, but today people cannot accept that and always out looking for someone to blame.
I strongly disagree with your comment that a person emotionally involved cannot make a rational decision. Then no one could ever make a decision about anything. If you are nor emotionally involved in life, then what the hell are you, a robot.

I simply made a comment that someone who takes anothers life should spend some time behind bars, and now I am emotionally involved and cannot make a rational decision on the topic. Really?

Hopefully you and your family live a long safe and happy life, but if the worst ever happened and you got a call from a LE that your loved ones were killed due to a bad driver, you might feel different.

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Postby jackknifeh » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:42 am

BAL wrote:BINGO. Great comments Anonymous.
When it's a slobering ole drunk that gets behind a wheel and kills someone a certain
picture enters your head and people want to keep them behind bars forever.
Many people don't picture themselves in this situation, so it's no big deal.

However, when its texting that we are talking about, well that's something that they
do regularly and it's a different story. It might happen to them so the situation changes.
The result are the same. Someone is dead and someone took their life because of their
negligence / bad driving whatever the words you want to use.
There is a difference between a "sloverying drunk" behind the wheel and someone texting. The drunk literally is not capable of making good decisions, even the decision not to drive. That's not an excuse legally or morally, just a reality IMO. I'm not advocating less punishment either. If anything, more punishment for the texter because there isn't any reason he shouldn't be able to make the rational decision to wait till he isn't moving to read or type a text message. If this sounds like I'm trying to give the intocicated driver a break, I'm not.

Talking on the phone. I think that should be 100% legal if you have a headset. Your hands are free for driving and it would be just like talking to someone in the car. Without a headset usually one hand is needed to hold the phone.

These are my opinions or thoughts while sitting here. I can't say I'm 100% innocent in most of these scenarios. I've never texted while driving. Why? Probably because I've never texted on a cell phone at all.

Jack

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Postby Pinetreebbs » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:37 am

jackknifeh wrote:There is a difference between a "sloverying drunk" behind the wheel and someone texting. The drunk literally is not capable of making good decisions, even the decision not to drive. That's not an excuse legally or morally, just a reality IMO. I'm not advocating less punishment either. If anything, more punishment for the texter because there isn't any reason he shouldn't be able to make the rational decision to wait till he isn't moving to read or type a text message. If this sounds like I'm trying to give the intocicated driver a break, I'm not.

Talking on the phone. I think that should be 100% legal if you have a headset. Your hands are free for driving and it would be just like talking to someone in the car. Without a headset usually one hand is needed to hold the phone.

These are my opinions or thoughts while sitting here. I can't say I'm 100% innocent in most of these scenarios. I've never texted while driving. Why? Probably because I've never texted on a cell phone at all.

Jack
The hands free argument is not a good one. If it was, we would be required to have both hands on the wheel at all times, no shifting, turn signal operations, no coffee or drinks allowed. IMO, it's the conversation itself that distracts drivers. I have often observed a person safely driving in front of me answer a call, start talking, waving their hands obviously an involved conversation. Usually they will slow their speed, even though they are in the left lane, ignore signals, ignore other drivers and road hazards. Sure some folks can answer a call and maintain reasonable driving, heck some folks successfully drive while intoxicated, but that reduced attention undermines the safety of all drivers and pedestrians and puts them at risk.

Drunks Vs distracted drivers, in either case someone made a personal choice to drink or use that cellphone. Since there are established consequences for DUI and possibly cell phone use, once the driver is at fault any additional consequences such as the death, injury or dismemberment of others should have the same consequences.
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Postby Blerv » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:15 am

The main difference is that a texter can STOP texting when it gets dangerous. A drunk is impaired the whole duration.
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Postby Pinetreebbs » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:31 am

Blerv wrote:The main difference is that a texter can STOP texting when it gets dangerous. A drunk is impaired the whole duration.
In the context of this discussion, the distracted driver has already caused an accident with severe and possibly deadly consequences. The drinker didn't stop drinking and the texter didn't stop texting, they deserve the same consequences for their acts.
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Postby BAL » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:16 am

I agree that there is a difference between a drunk driver and a texting driver as many have eluded to already.
I agree that a person can stop texting, talking on the phone, eating their sandwich and so on. The drunk
driver cannot sober up at the snap of a finger.

However, as Pinetreebbs pointed out, the initial topic was about the situation where a texting driver caused
an accident that killed a person. This issue has been a hot topic on TV, radio talk shows and so on recently.
There was a case in Kansas City recently where a 16 year old girl was texting, had a wreck that also killed
a person. I believe the charges were that she was given probation, has to spend a weekend in some type
of lock down/education thing and will lose her license until she is 18.

To me this is a slap on the wrist and falls way short of the boy who has a two year jail sentence and will
lose his license for 10 years. Hopefully, there will be a more standard punishment in the future, although
Ideally, perople will starting using their heads and stay off the phone while driving.

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Postby rodloos » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:17 am

I passed a guy on the freeway this morning coming to work, he was busy texting away on his phone, driving 10 mph under the speed limit. I *really* wanted to just lay on the horn as I came up next to him, but I figured as distracted as he was, he would have been so startled he would have swerved and taken me or another driver out :( . He had a phone with a slide-out keyboard, and was holding it with both hands leaning against the top of the steering wheel. Sure he was sort-of staying in his lane, but not at all ready to deal with changing freeway traffic around him.

It's tragic when someone has to go to jail because they made a poor decision and someone else died or was injured as a result, but they need to take responsibility for their actions.

A few days ago I was reading about a trial for a guy who robbed a bank, wrestled the security guard's gun away and shot and killed the guard. The defense attorney was arguing for a lesser sentence because the robber was high on PCP and wasn't responsible for his actions. I say he made the decision to use PCP, and is every bit responsible for what he did afterwards, just as someone who drinks and drives then kills someone is responsible. If you plan to drink, plan to have a way to get home without driving. If you just *have* to send that text message right away to prevent some major tragedy, then pull off the road to send it!

Anyone can be distracted from unforeseen events - lid comes off a coffee cup and spills hot coffee in their lap, etc. They are still responsible for what happens. I say part of making good decisions includes being aware of traffic around them, know if there is a car in the lane next to you in case you have to suddenly change lanes, and leaving enough space between you and the next car in front of you. Here in Dallas everyone seems to think you only need 5 feet of space when you are following another car at 70 mph :mad: .

I've made poor decisions before, but I hope the additional experience I've had makes me a much better driver now at 52 than I was at 18, and perhaps I was lucky I never caused an accident due to my poor decisions at the time - because it definitely would have been my responsibility if I had.
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Postby BAL » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:41 am

Hey rodloos, I saw something similar a couple nights ago on the way home while drivign on
an Interstate with a 70mph speed limit. A car was in the far left lane of a 3 lane Hwy and it
was going about 55 mph. About a dozen cars were lined up behind that were having to do
the old pull into the middle lane to go around.

When it was my turn to pass I looked over and it was a 30ish female that was busy texting
on the phone. I honked and when she looked up I motioned for her to pull over into the middle
lane to get out of the way, also thinking that she would get off the texting marathon.

She continued pecking away and her car swerved about as she tried to pull into traffic to
slide into the middle lane. It was a miracle that there wasn't an accident and I felt bad that
honked at her. She gave me a dirty look like how dare me for honking at her.

The point is though is that some people apparently don't consider this to be a problem.
I don't necessarily agree with the premise of giving an offender a trumped up penalty to
"make an example" of them, but at the same time, some people need a little reality check
on the dangers of these things.

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Postby jzmtl » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:18 pm

BAL wrote:I strongly disagree with your comment that a person emotionally involved cannot make a rational decision. Then no one could ever make a decision about anything. If you are nor emotionally involved in life, then what the hell are you, a robot.

I simply made a comment that someone who takes anothers life should spend some time behind bars, and now I am emotionally involved and cannot make a rational decision on the topic. Really?

Hopefully you and your family live a long safe and happy life, but if the worst ever happened and you got a call from a LE that your loved ones were killed due to a bad driver, you might feel different.
Your responses make great example, I said any person who is involved in accidents are too emotional to make rational decisions regard the other party involved, and you get all pissy and started to taking what I said out of context, making accusations while avoiding specific points I was responding to. The only thing I can conclude is you were involved in something and now is out for blood.

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Postby Pinetreebbs » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:01 pm

jzmtl wrote:...There are things such accidents, but today people cannot accept that and always out looking for someone to blame.
Your statement is fundamentally wrong, accidents are preventable. Accidents are caused when we do not do our best to prevent them.

If a root cause analysis is done on each incident, the observer will find that the most of the root causes come back to a few basic items:

* insufficient training
* training not understood
* poor decision making
* a lax attitude towards safety

Someone is to blame and they alone are responsible for the consequences of their actions. Accidents are are not like Pee Wee baseball where all participants get a participation trophy and there are no winners or losers.

Your reference to, "...looking for someone to blame." is partly correct in another way. However the person looking to blame someone is the one at fault and is looking to deflect or spread the blame in order to reduce their own culpability.
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Postby jzmtl » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:18 pm

You are just repeating slogans, like expected the unexpected, or give 110%, makes no sense and impossible to achieve. You can't prevent all accidents no matter how hard you try, that's the reality.

Regard the blame game, please refer back the original context, where the victim's lawyer suing the person texting to driver involved, who should have nothing to do with the case, isn't that a case of victims looking to blame everyone they can?

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Postby Blerv » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:39 pm

Pinetreebbs wrote:In the context of this discussion, the distracted driver has already caused an accident with severe and possibly deadly consequences. The drinker didn't stop drinking and the texter didn't stop texting, they deserve the same consequences for their acts.
Yes. I was simply arguing a biological difference between the two groups of distracted people. One having his reflexes biologically retarded while the alcohol is pummeled by metabolism. The other being "not drunk" once he/she looks up. A BIG difference to the ability to operate a motor vehicle, not to the consequences or legal repercussions.
Anonymous wrote:It gets dangerous when you take your eyes off the road WHILE texting.
That's true. That also means checking blind-spots before changing lanes, looking in the rear view mirror, adjusting your mirrors, or putting down the sunvisor can be deadly acts.

The nearly inconsequential factor being this kid is an idiot and some people are not. Driving a car is not being strapped into a F1 car; the reflexes and general competency is slightly lower than dribbling a basketball while stationary.


Side-note: I'm a horrible ball player and struggle with dribbling.
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Postby Blerv » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:55 pm

My only point is there are some times when sending a letter once a minute will not kill someone. If you're trying to write an award acceptance speech on a 2-lane country road perhaps not so much.

We have a TON of traffic where I live. It's hard to rupture someones vital organs going 0 MPH. Once the car accelerates to 1mph it gets dangerous again. Unless you have the freakiest metabolism on Earth it's hard to switch off drunk during movement.

The laws are designed to blanket solve problems. Putting a bunch of disclaimers in there regarding competence, logic, and what-not is akin to the fine print of ingredients/disclaimers on a Twinkie. Nobody is going to read it. Meanwhile the people who do are often horrid drivers who believe they are rock stars. Welcome to America.
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Postby FroOchie » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:03 pm

Blerv wrote:My only point is there are some times when sending a letter once a minute will not kill someone. If you're trying to write an award acceptance speech on a 2-lane country road perhaps not so much.

We have a TON of traffic where I live. It's hard to rupture someones vital organs going 0 MPH. Once the car accelerates to 1mph it gets dangerous again. Unless you have the freakiest metabolism on Earth it's hard to switch off drunk during movement.

The laws are designed to blanket solve problems. Putting a bunch of disclaimers in there regarding competence, logic, and what-not is akin to the fine print of ingredients/disclaimers on a Twinkie. Nobody is going to read it. Meanwhile the people who do are often horrid drivers who believe they are rock stars. Welcome to America.
You can't make a point that sometimes it's safer than other times, it's not rational. There are times drunk driving isn't as dangerous either but it doesn't ever make the idea a good one. As for killing someone in a stopped car it's easier than you're allowing yourself to imagine, stop short in front of another driver in a place you're not supposed to and watch the chaos that follows. Accidents come in all shapes and sizes and have many reasons how they came about and could have been avoided. The point will always be, if you don't put yourself in a position for one of those instances to happen you're safer than if you do. The rest of us on the road are safer too.
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Postby Blerv » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:14 pm

FroOchie wrote:You can't make a point that sometimes it's safer than other times, it's not rational.
Yes I can. Roads can have straights, corners, and can be filled with people or totally barren. Driving and texting on an empty 8 lane road with one person going the other way is WAY safer than one that is 8 feet wide without pavement.
FroOchie wrote:There are times drunk driving isn't as dangerous either but it doesn't ever make the idea a good one.
That's true! Turning it off is way harder though. There is a reason the military generally doesn't issue flame throwers.
FroOchie wrote:As for killing someone in a stopped car it's easier than you're allowing yourself to imagine, stop short in front of another driver in a place you're not supposed to and watch the chaos that follows. Accidents come in all shapes and sizes and have many reasons how they came about and could have been avoided.
Coming to a controlled stop and giving someone an extra 5-10 feet and causing a pile-up is because the person behind you was tailgating unnecessarily close. You cannot murder someone with a stationary 3,000 pound car unless you paint it to look like a sidewalk and park it there for an unsuspecting bike rider (aka all of them).
FroOchie wrote:The point will always be, if you don't put yourself in a position for one of those instances to happen you're safer than if you do. The rest of us on the road are safer too.
Yes I agree. Odds can be reduced and when the outcome is someone dying it's always a wise idea to do your best to minimize them. I don't make it a practice of texting. I also don't cross lanes because of my meager abilities to do anything while directing a rack & pinion. My chance of killing someone is at an all-time low! My chance of winning an internet debate using "maybes" vs a flurry of "nevers" would seemingly be high too. It's not though. ;)
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Postby Pinetreebbs » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:18 pm

jzmtl wrote:You are just repeating slogans, like expected the unexpected, or give 110%, makes no sense and impossible to achieve. You can't prevent all accidents no matter how hard you try, that's the reality.

Regard the blame game, please refer back the original context, where the victim's lawyer suing the person texting to driver involved, who should have nothing to do with the case, isn't that a case of victims looking to blame everyone they can?
It reality not all slogans, do some reading about accident reduction, Human Performance Improvement. Accident do not just happen they have root causes, including conditions or designs that can induce a false sense of safety where none exists. The slogans are used to get people to pay attention and not blow off safety assume accidents are inevitable.

Now for the blame issue, look back at this:
Pinetreebbs wrote:The driver already admitted his fault and plead guilty. His insurance was probably inadequate to cover the losses of his victims, each losing a leg. At that point their attorney would go after anyone that might share any blame. Keep in mind he was not able to prove she knew the driver was in his car at time she was sending texts back and forth....
They really cannot sue for spite and a reputable lawyer would probably turn it down. To be successful, they would be required to establish shared responsibility. If the text messages contained something from the sender like, "I don't care what you are doing..." things might have gone the other way.
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