Selfie: Another Probable Cause of Distracted Driving

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

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

Jake 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...
Jeffrey Bascom Gets 5 Years Prison Sentence for Texting and Driving

Jeffrey Bascom Gets 5 Years Prison Sentence for Texting and Driving

Jeffrey 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....
3 Girls Hit by Car

3 Girls Hit by Car

Shown 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...
New Utah Cell phone Law

New Utah Cell phone Law

New 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...
Wife Speaks Against Texting and Driving

Wife Speaks Against Texting and Driving

One 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...