Many people do not know that it is illegal to not only text while driving but also to read a text while driving.
Only recently our office was involved in an case where a young woman, who was distracted while looking at a text on her cell phone, seriously injured a young man on a motorcycle. She was charged and pled guilty to driving to endanger and given a 6 month suspended sentence. Although the accident was ordinary negligence, because she was looking at a text the penalty was much greater. The district attorney was asking for a sentence of 2 I/2 years! .The moral is if your wish to text pull over; do not drive!
In addition, Police have reported a number of accidents on Rt. 102 in Burrillville – many of which were determined to have been preventable. The initial investigation in at least one of the accidents has indicated that distracted driving, involving texting and driving, played a role in the deaths of two young people. This is a somber reminder of the dangers of distracted driving, and particularly of texting and driving.
The RI Attorney Generals office has promoted a very good “It Can Wait” anti-texting and driving campaign which he has brought to schools across Rhode Island over the past year. In addition the General Assembly also passed a law to impose stiffer penalties on habitual offenders who text and drive. Since cell phone use has become a major means of communication in our society, we have seen the amount of traffic accidents due to text messaging and distracted driving rapidly increase. Through education and deterrence, we can change drivers’ attitudes about this dangerous habit. This new law will give the Courts the discretion to impose stricter penalties on those who continue to text while driving, risking their own lives as well as the lives of others on our roads.