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Teenage driver arrested for fatal texting car accident

Legislation is emerging nationwide to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile population. Most of us understand the dangers of texting. We also understand the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, even if we break the rules once in a while. A Connecticut teenager is learning the hard way that the dangers of texting while driving can be fatal-and criminal.

On March 24, a 44-year-old man was out on a run in Norwalk, training for a marathon when he was struck by the teenage driver. Authorities determined that she was distracted by the handheld cellphone when she swerved off the road. Legislators and law enforcement officials are taking action to get teenage and adult drivers to put down their cellphones and stop distracted driving to prevent future accidents and injuries.

The victim was on his morning jog when he was fatally struck by an SUV driven by the 16-year-old girl. The driver, from New Canaan was charged earlier this month week with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, using a handheld telephone under age 18 and failing to drive in the proper lane. Police did not report what she was doing on the phone, only that they found evidence she was using her keypad moments before the victim was struck on the busy street.

Connecticut is one of 31 states that ban all cellphone use by novice drivers. While laws can be a deterrent, ultimately is up to each individual to put down their cellphone while driving. Given the high rate of accidents, injuries and death caused by similar incidences, all drivers should consider the risk before picking up their cellphones. This accident shows the immediate and potentially fatal consequences of distracted driving.

Source: Associated Press, "Conn. Accident shows dangers of distracted driving," Dave Collins, May 15, 2012.

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