Don’t Facebook & Drive

by Tim O’Hare

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Taylor Sauer, Utah State University student, died January 14 after she ran her car into a tanker truck going 80 mph on her way home to visit her parents in Idaho.

She was 18.

Investigators found that Taylor was texting and updating Facebook on her phone while driving. Records show Taylor was sending and receiving both text messages and Facebook communications every 90 seconds during her drive. Taylor’s parents think she was trying to keep herself awake during the four-hour drive.

Taylor’s dad told Today Show host Ann Curry that many teens think they’re invincible. They also think they are so proficient at texting that texting while driving isn’t a distraction. That mindset led to his daughter’s fatal mistake.

It’s ironic, a bit eerie, and very sad to know that Taylor’s last comment on Facebook read “I can’t discuss this now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.” Taylor knew the dangers. Most likely, she also thought it would never happen to her. But it did.

Is updating Facebook while driving really worth your life or the lives of others?

In Texas alone, distracted driving due to cell phone use is the cause of more than 16,000 deaths each year. Whether it’s a phone call, a text message or a Facebook or Twitter update, using your phone while driving means you are taking your attention off the road and focusing elsewhere. The greatest danger of distracted driving is a significantly reduced reaction time.

In Taylor’s case, she was driving 80mph when she hit the back of a tanker truck that was climbing a hill at only 15mph. Investigators found no signs that Taylor tried to brake before she hit the truck. She was killed instantly.

We can only speculate that had text messages and Facebook not distracted Taylor, she may have seen that truck in time to slow down and avoid hitting it. In Idaho, where Taylor’s fatal accident occurred, there are no laws against texting while driving. Taylor’s parents are working with Idaho lawmakers to change that.

In Texas, there are laws preventing drivers from using cell phones in active school zones. However, as demonstrated in Taylor’s tragic story, the Texas laws may not be enough. Had Taylor been in Texas, her actions would not have been illegal.

Don’t wait for lawmakers to tell you not to use your phone while driving. Learn from Taylor’s story (and countless others). Texting or updating Facebook while driving is not worth your life. Make the decision to put your phone away while driving. If you must make a call or send a text, pull over and stop before you do. The life you save may be your own.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injuries or loss.

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