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A California jury decides in rapid fire that defendant guilty of manslaughter for texting while driving.


Blog Category:
11/13/2009
James E. Ballidis
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The family of Danny Oates cried silently as the verdict was read for the defendant, Jeffrey Woods. Woods had pleaded not guilty to texting while driving and ultimately striking Oats as he rode his bicycle in 2007. It took the jury just two hours to review the facts and find Woods guilty of manslaughter. He was texting and under the influence of prescriptions medicines—a combination that would end tragically for a young boy on his bike.
Woods could face a maximum sentence up to 10 years in state prison. The strong sentence will not bring back a 14 year- old Huntington Beach boy, but it will send a strong message to drivers who continue to text while driving here in California.
As new technologies help us to multi-task more efficiently in our everyday lives, the cell phone is by far the most popular. According to Cellular Communications, there are now over 276 million U.S. subscribers to cell phone. In addition, these people are not only talking on their phones but texting over 110 billion times in 2008.
Currently 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting while driving and the restrictions, although not perfect, have made a difference in accident rates in those states. Accidents rates due to texting while driving are down significantly both in Orange County and throughout California.
The first offense will cost you $76 and additional offenses are around $190, although the fees can vary between different counties. Even if you are stopped at a traffic light, you are still prohibited from using your handheld device. Any law enforcement personnel can give you a citation while you are operating your vehicle, driving or not.
As of July 1st, 2008, it has been illegal for any motorist to use any handheld wireless device while driving a car in California. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from using either a handheld or hands free type device. The newest Wireless Communication Device Law that became effective January 1, 2009 states that no one can write, send or read any text-based communication on a handheld device while driving a motor vehicle.
Current studies now show that texting while driving increases your potential for a auto accident by a  factor of four. In fact, another study has compared texting and driving to be equal in distraction to a person driving while alcohol impaired with 0.08 BAC. That is legally drunk in the state of California. Driver distraction causes over one million crashes in North America annually. The economic impact reaches nearly $40 billion a year.
According to the American Automobile Association, AAA, there has been a 70% decline in texting while driving since the ban took effect. This data is significant because it shows that some laws can change driver’s behavior. In this case, it will reduce distracted driving and improve driver safety.

Category: Bicycle Accidents


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