There is probably no greater example of the death and destruction caused by distracted driving than the recent Spanish train derailment in which 79 people were killed and many more were injured, 70 injured, 22 critically.
Investigators have discovered that the train operator, Francisco Garzon, 52, had accepted a phone call from the national train company moments before the accident. He was also reportedly consulting paper documents when the train derailed.
Trains are equipped with the same black box data recorders that airplanes are equipped with and reports say that the train was traveling at 119 miles per hour, or double the speed limit, when it derailed.
Garzon has been charged with 79 counts of homicide in the accident in which two American women were killed.
In 2008, there was a Metrolink commuter train accident in California in which 25 people were killed and many people critically injured. IN that accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) blamed the train’s engineer for the accident after finding that he was texting while on duty.
Distracted Driving a Major Problem on US Roads and Highways
Distracted driving is called an “epidemic” and it is believed that 3,000 people were killed in 2011 due to distracted driving.
Anything that takes ones eyes off of the primary task of driving can potentially cause a serious car accident in which someone is killed or injured. It’s hard to understand why people text and drive when the practice is so dangerous. People often think that the statistics just do not apply to them or they are more concerned about staying connected with family or friends.
Texting is an especially dangerous distraction because it requires involvement of visual, manual and cognitive faculties all at the same time. Reading or sending a text message causes a driver to take their eyes off of the road for up to 5 seconds, and in that time, if one is driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour, they have driven the length of a football field.
Distracted driving can include the following behaviors:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Consuming food
- Interacting with passengers
- Reading maps
- Using a GPS system
- Pets in the car
- Adjusting radios, CD players or MP3 players
We have even seen reports recently of bus drivers who were distracted while driving, one reading from his Kindle device (Read Bus driver fired for using a Kindle reading device) while driving and one even masturbating.
The video below is shared by the parents of a young Washington woman from Thurston County who died in a crash caused by speeding and texting. It is a powerful testimony to the dangers of distracted driving.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another.
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