Calif. Woman Sentenced to 6 Years for Fatal Texting Crash

Apr 09, 2009

Cell phones nation’s leading driver distraction

Deborah Matis-Engle was speeding and text messaging when she slammed into a line of vehicles stopped at a construction zone in August 2007, killing 46-year-old Petra Winn, a passenger in one of the vehicles, according to the New York Times.

The report says the 49-year-old woman was in the middle of paying several bills when she struck a vehicle that burst into flames.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Motorists reports that 6 states, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah, and Washington, all have implemented a state-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone. 10 states have also banned driving while texting (DWT).

What does this mean for businesses whose drivers depend on cell phones to get the job done? Business practices may need to change if some states get their way.

Businesses are increasingly prohibiting workers from using cell phones while driving to conduct business. Exxon Mobil and Shell are examples of large companies that ban employees’ use of any type of cell phone while driving during work hours.

The IIHSM also found that motorists who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

Maybe it’s time for a little common sense. For the same reasons that portable electric razors can be used for a clean close shave while driving, cell phones can send emails, text messages and pay bills from the road, and yes it’s possible to do a crossword puzzle at a stop light, but it doesn’t mean you should.

Sure, business runs on productivity. But it goes nowhere when your drivers get locked up for doing too much behind the wheel.

For a complete list of cell phone laws across the United States, click here.

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