It would appear that with every new safety feature the automotive industry
introduces to make driving safer, technology and society add a new distraction.
The relatively new popularity of the cell phone has given drivers of all
ages the ability to communicate easily and inexpensively. But tragically,
it is becoming the cause of more and more deadly crashes, especially when
it is a teen driver. As one Minnesota reporter wrote "Teens are the
ultimate multi-taskers and theyre paying for it on the roads with their
To discuss the use of cell phones while driving these days, puts one in
controversial territory, with many Americans believing they have just as
much right to communicate while driving, as they do too driving itself. While
the Constitution does not grant any citizen the "right" to drive or "use
of a cell phone" while driving, it is not our intention to enter the argument.
We do, however, hope to supply the reader with some incidents and some
observations we have made on this topic. By supplying some facts, the parent
or teen reader can then make a better informed, and personal decision, on
the use of cell phones while driving.
5 Teenagers Killed in Crash
Date: June 26, 2007 Place: Finger Lakes
region, New York
Five cheerleaders from Fairport, New York are killed when their vehicle swerves
into oncoming traffic and is struck by a semi. Media reports 17 year old
driver's cell phone was in use immediately prior to the crash, and had just
received a text message reply. Unknown if driver was using at time of
A study co-sponsored by AAA and Seventeen Magazine,
asked more than 1,000 16 and 17-year-olds in April, 2007, and found that
46% said they text message while driving, and 51% admitted to talking on
2 teen tribal members die when car goes into river
March 18, 2007
Port Angeles, Washington (numerous sources, KONP)
17 year old Vanna Francis and 15-year-old Ronnie Scroggins drowned when a
car carrying 7 teenagers drove off the Lower Elwha Road and into the Elwha
River....20-year-old driver *** admitted she had been drinking beer ...She
also admitted she was texting on her cell phone when the car plunged into
Family: Teen Killed While Texting And Driving
Legislature Considering Bill To Address Issue
August 17, 2007 KCRA (California)
ELK GROVE, Calif. -- An Elk Grove family is warning teens and parents about
the dangers of texting while driving. An 18-year-old relative was killed
this week in a head-on crash, because she was focused on her cell phone....Police
in Peoria, Ariz., call the Monday crash one of the worst they've ever seen.
Officers said the teen was text messaging at the time of the wreck, which
killed her and the driver of the other involved vehicle.
Head-on crash with Mack truck kills man July 6, 2007 The Noblesville Ledger (Indiana)
Police will continue today to investigate a Thursday morning accident at
Ind. 32 and Mensa Drive that killed an Anderson man. The crash was so loud,
people a quarter-mile away thought something exploded, and debris filled
the road, which was closed throughout the day.....when he swerved -- police
don't know why -- into the westbound lane and hit a 2000 Mack truck...saw
the accident while unlocking her parked car in a lot south of Ind. 32. She
said she ran up to the van and found ***, bleeding and pinned against the
dashboard. "He was still holding his cell phone up to his face,"
Teen Was On Cell With Dad At Time Of
Crash WCVB-TV, May 15, 2007 Massachuesetts
A teenager was killed in a car crash in Norton, Mass., while talking on the
phone with his father on Sunday. Jordan Cibley, 18, was killed when his car
crossed the centerline and struck a tree on Barrows Street. His father, Jerry
Cibley, was on the phone with him at the time of the crash. "I heard Oh,'
and the phone went dead," Jerry Cibley said.
Community Dealing With Loss Of 3 Educators (CBS 42) Round Rock (Texas)
Shock and sorrow filled a Round Rock elementary school a day after three
educators were killed on a rain-slicked roadway....was talking with his wife
on her cell phone when it happened. He heard her say, 'Oh my God' and
the phone was dropped, .... He heard it two more times, maybe
three more times, and the phone went dead.
One statistical analysis of the new and previous Utah
studies showed cell phone users were 5.36 times more likely to get in an
accident than undistracted drivers. Other studies have shown the risk is
about the same as for drivers with a 0.08 blood-alcohol level. -
Family Of Man Who Hit And Killed 6-Year-Old Speaks Out KOTV - 6/27/2007 (Oklahoma) ..... was driving on Independence when he hit 6-year-old Jessalyn
Sanders as she tried to follow her older sister across the street. Piersall
told police he was reaching for his cell phone when it happened.
Distracted trucker not charged in deadly crash The Associated Press - 7:00 p.m. July 3, 2007 (Indiana)
A truck driver who was trying to recharge his cell phone when he rammed into
stopped traffic on the Indiana Toll Road, killing eight people, will not
face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced Tuesday.
Suspect arrested in year-old hit-and-run case Greely Tribune - July 21, 2007 (Colorado)
" ... He just started breaking down bawling saying 'You know I didn't mean
to do it, I didn't mean to kill her...' " *** told police. "He was driving
and was text messaging and that she had walked out in front of him and he'd
struck her and had to hit the brakes to get her to fly off the front of the
vehicle and then just took off..."
Cars a passion for text-messaging driver Highlands Ranch Herald 2/23/2006(Colorado)
..., 17, was driving east ....when he replied to a text message on his cell
phone, something he had done, as a matter of fact, several times before when
driving. "I always held it up here, on the top of the steering wheel, so
I could also see the road," ......drifted into the bicycle lane and struck
(and killed a 63 year old bicyclist) from behind.
Parents of alum Matt Wilhelm
to speak at Uni this week about "Matt's Law" The Online Gargoyl, University Laboratory High School, Jan 21, 2007
Chuck and Gloria Wilhelm, whose son was killed in early September by a driver
downloading ring tones, will address Uni students on Thursday about their
advocacy of a new law to ban cell-phone use while driving.
Not a new problem....
Driver using cell phone killed in head-on crash Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov 24, 1999(Wisconsin)
A 43-year-old Beloit woman chatting on a car phone with her husband, who
was traveling in his car behind her, died Monday in a head-on
collision....crossed the center line and struck a vehicle...
Overseas Texting teen jailed for four years over fatal car smash The Northern Echo, 7/21/2007 United Kingdom
A 19-YEAR-OLD girl has today been jailed for four years after she admitted
texting a friend moments before she caused a fatal road accident...."Research
has proven that using a mobile telephone while driving is just as bad as
someone drinking and driving. Using your mobile while driving is inexcusable
and those who do so are simply not appreciating the consequences of their
actions. Simply not answering your phone prevents such tragedies from happening
and you have to think is any call or text worth putting lives at risk? Mobile
phones are a relatively new technology and it's only recently that the dangers
of using them while driving has come to the fore."
car rollover that killed two Minnetonka High School seniors happened because
the driver was distracted by her iPod, according to the final State Patrol
report released Monday. It also said that the other victim did not have an
accessible, working seat belt. Kelly Phillips, who was thrown from the back
seat, was probably seated by a seat belt strap that wasn't operable and another
belt was tucked under the seat cushion, said Dan Beasley, the patrol's west
metro investigator....The report confirmed that distracting iPod use by the
driver, Kylie Grayden, caused the crash in rural Carver County that killed
Grayden and Phillips, both 17. The two friends and Grayden's cousin, Mitchell
Grengs, 17, were driving through rural Carver County to a farm bonfire the
night of Sept. 21. The car went off the road and rolled. Grengs, a front-seat
passenger wearing a seat belt, was seriously injured.
July 18, 2008 The Enterprise - Brockton, Massachusetts
Texting while driving seen as latest roadway threat
John McCarthy, 58, of Brockton was killed early Saturday in Easton by a
hit-and-run driver who, authorities alleged in court, was sending a text
message at the time. A Stoughton man was charged in that fatality.
Thirteen-year-old Earman Machado of Taunton was killed Dec. 27, 2007, when
a car driven by someone text messaging swerved onto the side
of Poole Street in Taunton and struck the boy on his bike.
Is any call/message/song worth losing your life