Homicide Conviction and Jail Time for Texting While Driving Motor Vehicle Accident Sounds Shocking But Probably Won't Deter It
A Massachusetts teen, Aaron Deveau, was convicted Wednesday on charges of vehicular homicide, texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle as a result of texting while driving. He was the first driver to be charged and convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting under Massachusetts aw. The motor vehicle accident occurred when Deveau’s vehicle crossed over a center line and fatally injured the driver of the oncoming vehicle and seriously injured a passenger in that vehicle.
He was sentenced to two and a half years on the vehicular homicide charge and two years on the texting and causing injury charge. He will serve one year concurrently on both charges and the balance of both charges is suspended for five years. His license will be suspended for 15 years. He faced a maximum of four years in jail.
Prosecutors say the then-17-year-old high school student sent 193 text messages the day of the crash, including some just a minute or so before impact and dozens more after it. His defense lawyer argued that even if true that didn’t necessarily prove that he was text-messaging at the time of the accident. Perhaps, but why did at one point he claim that at the time of the accident he was distracted and thinking about his homework? Who would believe that anyway?
Some 38 states ban text messaging for all drivers, while 31 prohibit all cell phone use by "novice drivers," according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association.
In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board urged a ban on use of phones while driving
The initial charges against Deveau were motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, being an operator under 18 using a mobile phone, being an operator reading or sending an electronic message, a marked lanes violation and two counts of negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use.
One would think that the harsh result would be a wake-up call for people to stop texting-and-driving. But considering that significant jail time for vehicular homicide while driving drunk has been imposed upon many people and yet people continue to drink and drive, I thing this or any other convictions will deter much texting. Texting just seems too ingrained in peoples’ behavior, people of all ages.
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