Pennsylvania driver accused of texting, drinking in fatal crash

In May, we discussed the issue of distracted driving as school officials presented distracted driving crash programs to students. Texting while driving has been an issue in driver safety commentary for some time. Drunk driving has also been on the radar for decades as officials seek to improve traffic safety with tougher drunk driving laws.

Police in Richland Township, Pennsylvania, say that a teen driver may not only have been texting while driving, but may have consumed alcohol before he was involved in a head-on fatal accident last June. The young man accused of causing the fatal accident in which two people died was arrested Monday on suspicion of homicide by vehicle.

Police say that the now 19-year-old man crossed into oncoming traffic on June 11, 2012 and his car slammed into another vehicle occupied by a 71-year-old man and his 19-year-old granddaughter. Each of the two accident victims were killed as a result of the accident.

Law enforcement searched phone records and authorities say that those records indicate that the Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania teen had been texting on his cellphone before he crossed over the center line, leading to the double fatal accident.

Police also say that the young man had consumed alcohol that day. Authorities say that he was not over the legal limit for drivers over the age of 21. However, the teen did have some amount of alcohol in his system. The man’s defense lawyer says that the teen was startled by a bird that had struck his windshield.

Some commentators have indicated their belief that distracted driving is a major problem on today’s roads. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been outspoken about the issue, and has urged tighter regulations on cellphone use and other electronic distractions in motor vehicles. Distracted driving may be one issue in a negligence case, especially with the prevalence of electronic gadgetry on the market that can be used while someone is driving.