Archive for the ‘Texting While Driving’ Category

Selfie: Another Probable Cause of Distracted Driving

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

phone taking picturesTaking one’s picture or”selfie” is 2013’s word of the year for Oxford Dictionary. Everybody seems to have the inclination to take their self-portraits and post it on social media sites. The article says selfies can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; often as status showing off a good hair day, fun accessories, a new outfit, and anything that the person wanted to show off.

However, AAA Utah is alarmed by a great number of “selfies” featuring a person behind the wheel or driving. According to the article, some drivers admitted to doing it, saying they do it, “usually when I’m stopped at a light” or “at a stoplight, but not while moving.”

It was disclosed that AAA’s research shows taking a photo for two seconds means your eyes are off the road for nearly half a football field. With six-second videos popular on Vine and 15-second videos, the latest feature on Instagram, drivers are distracted for the distance of up to nearly four football fields.

Distracted drivers are actually exposing themselves and others to higher risks for accidents on the road. Rolayne Fairclough with AAA Utah stated that depending on the speed that you are travelling, five seconds of distracted driving can make you travel a great distance without focus and this could easily result to an accident that can kill the driver or the other motorists. With the inclement weather and heavy traffic, many things can possibly happen that could be worsened by distracted driving.

AAA wants to discourage drivers from taking “selfies” because this could be another distraction that could have fatal results.

According to the article, Utah has a law against texting while driving. Some other states have similar laws and also require hands-free devices while behind the wheel.

Christensen & Hymas believes that driving is a serious task and should not be mixed with any activity that could distract the driver. Safety should be the main priority of every motorist. However, if you have suffered injuries from an accident caused by a distracted driver, you deserve to be compensated. Call us at (801) 506-0800, we have knowledgeable personal injury lawyers who can help you with your compensation claims.

Original article by Annie Cutler of Fox 13

Image courtesy of wikipedia

Jake Antonio Arrats Faces Jury Trial for DUI and Distracted Driving Charges

Monday, August 19th, 2013

courtroomJake Antonio Arrats will face a jury trial set on November 1 this year by the 8th District Court. Reports indicated that a $15,000 warrant was issued by a judge after he failed to appear for a court hearing last April. He was arrested last July 31 and is presently in the Duchesne County Jail.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI, a third-degree felony; texting while driving, a class B misdemeanor; and four other misdemeanor traffic offenses.

Arrats was involved in a car accident that left Keri Houston with life threatening injuries. According to Roosevelt police Keri Houston, 19, was sitting in a parked car on January 28 when she was sideswiped by Arrats. Police said that Houston’s door was open and her left foot was planted on the ground outside when the crash happened, causing a near-complete amputation of her leg in two places.

Investigators found that Arrats was driving under the influence and replying to a text message with the words “Ha ha” at the time.

Doctors believed that Houston’s life was saved by a Good Samaritan who was smart enough to use his belt as makeshift tourniquet to reduce blood loss.

Jeff Houston, Keri’s father, stated that his daughter had undergone 11 surgeries. Medical intervention included taking 18 inches of muscle and tissue from her back to rebuild her leg.

At present, Keri Houston uses crutches to move around and is expected to walk again but it will not be the same as before the accident.

Christensen & Hymas is glad that Keri Houston is on her way to recovery. This accident is another illustration of the dangers of DUI and distracted driving. The damage to life, limb and property surely leave scars on people who are directly and indirectly affected by such unfortunate events.

As such, we at Christensen & Hymas encourage all motorists not to drive distracted or under the influence. Call us at (801)-506-0800 for a consultation on compensation claims for injuries sustained as a result of reckless driving and negligence.

Original article by Geoff Liesik of Deseret News.

Photo courtesy of Ben Sutherland.

Jeffrey Bascom Gets 5 Years Prison Sentence for Texting and Driving

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

texting while drivingJeffrey Lloyd Bascom, 29 years old, was sentenced to five years in prison for causing the death of Thomas Lavelle Clark, a 9th grader at Vernal Junior High School. Bascom will also serve a concurrent six-month term for possession of spice.

According to KSL.com news, Bascom was driving a pickup truck that struck Clark while he and a friend were walking along 500 West near 1200 South at about 9 p.m. The report says the impact threw the 15-year-old about 40 feet in the air. He landed next to a barbed wire fence that separates a cow pasture from a roadside ditch. His friend was not injured.

Clark was taken by ambulance to Ashley Regional Medical Center, and then transferred by helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center. He was removed from life support Monday and died about 1:20 p.m.

Police authorities disclosed that Bascom was using his cell phone when he struck Clark. The teenager was wearing a neon yellow sweatshirt at the time of the accident and would not be hard to notice if Bascom had not been distracted by his cell phone.

According to KSL.com, a check of court records shows that Bascom has a long history of traffic violations, including one conviction for alcohol-related reckless driving in 2008 and 10 citations for speeding since 2003. The court record also shows that in three of those speeding cases he was driving more than 30 mph above the posted speed limit.

Aside from the prison term, Bascom is also required to perform community service and will talk about the dangers of distracted driving, especially on texting and driving.

He will undergo counselling for drugs and alcohol aside from counselling for the death he caused. The counselling will be provided for him behind bars.

Bascom also settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents.

We encourage everyone NOT to text and drive. The grief suffered by the victim’s family and the guilt and penalty shouldered by the offender can be avoided if we obey traffic laws at all times.

If you have been a victim of reckless driving or have sustained personal injury as a result of somebody’s negligence, call us at (801)-506-0800. We have expert personal injury lawyers to help you.

Original article by Geoff Liesik.

Photo courtesy of Jason Weaver.

3 Girls Hit by Car

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

driverShown is the driver of a blue Mazda who is distraught as the three girls he hit with his car are raced to Inter Mountain hospital. The name of this 28 year old male has not been disclosed, but police suspect that he was texting while driving. His distraction became apparent as he ran over three girls ages 14,10, and 9 even though they were crossing the street safely and using a designated cross walk. The local Midway girls were on their way to the local pool near Wasatch street when the accident took place Tuesday afternoon.

The 9 year old girl is still in critical condition while the other two girls are in serious condition.

Distracted driving leads to delayed reaction times. In this case the time between seeing the girls and the use of the break were to far apart. Distracted driving accounts for 18% of all accidents according to the CDC.

Accidents like this support the new no cell phone law for teens that was put in place the same day as the accident. If accidents like this tragedy continue we can expect that the cell phone and driving ban will be extended to all ages.

We at Christensen & Hymas wish the girls a successful recovery. We hope that this serves as a painful reminder to all that frequently use their phones while driving to put it down and focus.

If you have been hit as a result of a driver who has been texting while driving, call a compassionate attorney from Christensen & Hymas. We specialize in cases involving cell phone use and would be happy to assist you.

Article and photo originally reported by Deseret News

New Utah Cell phone Law

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

phone+carNew Laws regarding teen cell phones and driving come into affect on Tuesday May 14th. The state of Utah has decided to ban all phone use for anyone under age 18 while in the driver’s seat. This ban is for any function of the phone regardless of Bluetooth and hands free instruments. The only exception being if they are communicating with a parent.

If caught a teen will need to pay $25, but no points will be placed on the diving record. This small fee is intended to be paid by the teen, not the parent. According to Republican representative Lee Perry who supported the bill. He feels that the $25 will impact the teen’s wallet just enough to teach a lesson. If this law is effective in reducing accidents among teens it is reasonable to expect that the law could be extended to all drivers.

The goal of this law is to significantly reduce the number of distractions that teen drivers are facing. According to the Center for Disease Control one in five crashes is caused by a distracted driver. The law attempts to bring the percentage of the population who claim to use their phone while driving down. The United States reports that 69% of drivers use phones, this is 10% higher percentage of the population than even the countries with the most offenders in Europe.

We support the state of Utah for finding new ways to protect our roads. If you have experienced an accident involving phone usage contact the experts at Christensen & Hymas (801)506-0800.

Original article and photo from Deseret News

Wife Speaks Against Texting and Driving

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Car crash_Broken WindshieldOne month ago, a wife and her husband were in a serious accident that seriously injured her and killed him. She is now out of the hospital, and back home recovering from her back and neck injuries. The two were training for the St. George Spectrum 10K race when a car hit them both. The car had been propelled by another car whose driver was texting, who had rear-ended the first. The impact killed him almost instantly when he pushed his wife away from the blow. Her injuries included fractures in her back and neck, requiring over 5,000 stitches as well as facial reconstruction surgery. Amazingly, after some physical therapy, she is expected to have a full recovery.

The wife wants to use this tragedy as a way to prevent others from going through the same thing. As part of a distracted driving campaign, she is preparing to speak to high school students throughout southern Utah. Her daughter said, “She wants to put her energy into spreading awareness.”

In addition to hosting a “silent” 5 K race in Mapleton to honor their father, and the plan to purchase billboard space, the children launched a website promoting awareness of the severity of the problem: Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks.

The daughter said, “Our main objective is to hopefully get stricter cellphone laws in Utah… Distracted driving is just not smart. When people start realizing how dangerous it is, we think they’ll eventually be persuaded.”

From all of us at Christensen & Hymas, we thank Leslee for her bravery in this campaign. Let’s keep each other safe and aware out there on the roads.

Image courtesy of ksl news

Pedestrian Crushed by Parked Car because of Texting Driver

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Last week, 18-year-old Keri Houston was pinned between her parked car and an oncoming vehicle. Witnesses Jason Hollobaugh and Robert Stoney ran out to help after hearing sounds from the crash and the victim’s screams. Stoney said, “Her leg was all but completely off in two places.” Luckily he had received first-aid training in Marine recruit bootcamp. Even though that was ten years ago, he knew what to do, “Resort the breathing. Stop the bleeding. Protect the wound.” He used his belt as a tourniquet to stop th blood pumping from Houston’s damaged leg, while Hollobaugh tried to calm her fears.

Houston is in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center.

Currently in police custody, is the man who was accused of hitting Houston, Jake Antonio Arrats. After he hit bystander Houston, he drove away, almost 300 feet down the street, where he crashed into a chain-link fence in the front yard of a house.

There is suspicion of alcohol and/or drug involvement, but Arrats was being negligent in another way. As he was driving, he received and responded to a text message. His phone read, “ha ha” before the crash occurred.

27-year-old Arrats was initially arrested for investigation of DUI, texting and driving, no insurance and never having obtained a driver’s license. Had Jason Hollobaugh and Robert Stoney not helped Houston before the ambulance arrived, Arrats most likely would have been charged with automobile homicide.

We sincerely hope Keri Houston makes a full recovery soon. To her friends and family, here at Christensen & Hymas, our hearts go out to you.

Wrongful Death Texting Case goes to Court

Monday, January 21st, 2013

texting_behind_the_wheel

In Vernal Utah, the mother of a 15-year-old boy who was killed in a car crash, filed a wrongful death suit. The case was filed against Jeffrey Lloyd Bascom, the man whom police say crashed his car because he was texting, killing the 15-year-old pedestrian.

On September 2nd, the boy and a friend were walking shoulder to the street when he was hit from behind by Bascom, driving a pickup truck. The impact threw the teen nearly 40 feet through the air, and his friend escaped any injury. 28-year-old Bascom stayed at the sight until police arrived, openly admitting that he had been texting at the moment of collision. Jeffrey Bascom is facing both criminal and civil suits. The wrongful death suit filed by the victim’s mother is a civil suit, while the automobile homicide charge is criminal. He is looking at potentially 20 years in prison, if he is convicted.

Texting and driving has become an increasing source of danger on the roads. In one month in 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US. Nearly 50% more than the amount of messages sent two years before. Texting and driving is a serious risk:

  • One is 23 times more likely to crash when texting.
  • In the time it takes to read a received text message, or look at a phone long enough to send one, (an average of 4.6 seconds)  a car can travel the entire length of a football field.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving texting and driving, call the expert  accident attorneys at Christensen & Hymas to fight for your rights. (801)-506-0800

Stats from Distraction.gov

Image courtesy of the Deseret News

 

 

 

 

AT&T’s Don’t Text and Drive Pledge Day

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Today is AT&T’s Don’t Text and Drive Pledge Day in Utah, and with the frequency with which these accidents are occurring, the importance of adhering to a ‘no text and drive’ policy cannot be stressed enough. Perhaps some of you have seen commercials or YouTube videos as part of AT&T’s campaign to combat accidents involving texting while driving. These videos are heart wrenching, as individuals have life swept out from under them in a fraction of a second—much less time than it takes to respond to a text.

It seems that even heavy fines and even jail time are not enough to combat this rising trend. Utah is one of the states that has made texting and driving entirely illegal, stamping a $750 fine and up to three months in jail for simply engaging in the act. If another is injured in the accident, a fine of up to $10,000 and a possible 15 years could be staring you in the face.

It is the role of the law to hold such persons accountable, and is able to levy a significant toll upon the lives of such individuals. It is the role of a car accident lawyer to ensure that victims of such acts do not bear the financial burden for these accidents they did not cause. If you have been the victim of the negligent driving of another, call Christensen & Hymas today (801) 506-0800 to make sure you are compensated. Life may sometimes be unfair, but we will ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and suffering.

Statistics Reveal that Older Teens are Texting and Driving

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Statistics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that a majority of high school seniors are texting and driving. The report claims that in a national survey administered last year, 58% of high school seniors admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving, otherwise known as ‘distracted driving’ or ‘careless driving’. In the same study, 43% of high school juniors admitted to the same. The study is significant for there has been little actual evidence of teen texting and driving beyond general speculation.

Mentioned in KSL’s report of the study is a teen from New Jersey who caused a fender bender last year due to texting while driving. Said the young man of the event, “I felt like an idiot,” and, “It caused me to be a lot more cautious.” What is most frightening, though, is the young man continued by saying that he still texts and drives.

It is now considered a primary offense in the state of Utah to text and drive. Sadly though, there are probably fewer adults out there that can claim to be texting and driving any less than the teens involved in this study. Our age of constant communication, consumption and commercialism causes us to disregard safety, paying about as much attention to it as we do a back seat driver.

 


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