A New Jersey man was charged with vehicle homicide after a fatal traffic accident. Police had discovered that he was driving while engaged in an active texting conversation when the crash occurred, reported NJ.com (7.23.14).
Robert E. Ramsey, 20, was charged on July 11 for the February 27 crash that killed Albert Rodriguez Sr., 49. Rodriguez was traveling in a 1993 Chevrolet Prizm, according when it was involved in the crash with Ramsey’s 2012 Subaru Forester.
When the Vineland Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit investigated the crash, they executed a search warrant of Ramsey’s cellphone.
A driver may be liable for injuries caused by a texting while driving accident. This means Rodriguez’s family will have cause to sue the driver who hit his car and killed him for wrongful death. If a driver causes an accident while texting, he or she may not only be charged criminally, but may also be civilly responsible for any damages caused to injured parties. A wrongful death occurs when a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another. Most wrongful death lawsuits follow criminal trials. Wrongful death cases use similar evidence but have a lower standard of proof.
Accidents caused by drivers distracted by phones are preventable. Drivers must at all times exercise “reasonable care” while behind the wheel. They may be deemed negligent for being preoccupied by any another activity that takes their attention away from driving. Types of distractions include eating, putting on makeup, reading, watching a video, texting, using a phone, and using a navigation system.
This unfortunate accident is far from an isolated incident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 387,000 people were injured in the country in 2011in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. An additional 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers. The NHTSA further notes that 385 of those people were killed in crashes involving at least one of driver using a cell phone at the time of the accident. Of those injured, approximately 21,000 were injured in crashes involving the use of a cell phone. Use of a cell phone includes talking, listening, dialing, texting or other activities.
Laws on cell phone use vary from state to state. Under New York State law a driver cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or send a text or an email while driving.
The NJ.com story cited is “Texting while driving caused fatal Vineland auto accident, police say.”