Texting Student May See Prison Time Instead Of Graduation

A 28-year-old student may be facing several years in prison rather than building his career after graduation. He's set to go to trial on charges of second degree automobile homicide in May after he hit and killed a pedestrian with his pickup truck.

Jeffrey Bascom, the driver of the pickup truck, allegedly admitted to a witness that he had been texting at the time of the crash. The distracted driving victim, 15-year-old Tommy Clark, had been crossing the street with a friend when Bascom struck him from behind. Clark did not survive his injuries.

Bascom was travelling fast enough at the time of the fatal distracted driving accident to send Clark about 40 feet from the scene of the crash.

The crash happened in Utah where texting while driving by all drivers, regardless of age or type of driver's license, is against the law. The same accident could easily happen right here in Texas unless and until all drivers commit to a Text Free Texas.

The University of North Texas revealed in its own analysis of data from the federal Fatality Accident Reporting System (FARS) that, between 2001 and 2007, that more than 16,000 people were killed in texting-while-driving accidents. UNT also noted that the number was on the rise for the later portion of the studied timeframe. The number of fatal distracted driving accidents rose by 25 percent from 2005-2008.

The number of people who own cell phones has dramatically increased and the number of texts being sent each month has also risen. State laws and regulations can only go so far to protect those who share the road with motor vehicles, as the Utah fatal crash illustrates. It's up to each driver to commit that he or she won't be focused on a text message when he or she should be focused on driving.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "UT driver accused of texting, driving in fatal," January 26, 2012

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