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A distracted driver has again caused a tragedy on a Detroit-area highway, this time leading to the death of a mother and her young child. The July 14 crash underscores both the extreme danger distracted drivers pose to others and how important it is that they be stopped.
The crash, which damaged four vehicles, began when the driver of a pickup heading south on US-23 in Monroe County crashed into the rear of the victims’ car. That vehicle was shoved into the one in front of it, while the pickup went on to strike another car. The victims, a thirty-five-year-old and her five-year-old daughter, were pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Police reported quickly that all of those involved, including the victims, were wearing seat belts. The child was buckled in the back seat of the vehicle, as recommended by Michigan child safety laws, although it hasn’t been reported if she was using a car seat or booster. It was reported that alcohol and drug use were not believed to be factors.
Within hours of the crash, police had also stated that distracted driving was a likely cause. The twenty-seven–year-old pickup driver, according to reports, was texting while driving. That’s already a crime in Michigan, but it’s difficult to prove and the penalties are limited.
A bill was introduced in the state legislature this year to stiffen penalties and somewhat tighten enforcement, but it hasn’t yet made it out of committee.
Distracted driving—which includes making calls, texting while driving, game playing, and any other form of device use while behind the wheel—has been on the rise in recent years and has been blamed for an increase in serious injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes.
It’s hard to be sure of the numbers, but data from 2015 suggested that in that year nearly 10 percent of all traffic fatalities could be pinned on distracted drivers. Overall fatalities are up about 20 percent in just the last few years, and much of that increase is also blamed on distracted driving.
We know better than to claim any moral high ground when it comes to distracted driving. No matter how safe of a driver a person might claim to be, on average we’re all pretty bad.
A report from AAA earlier this year found that more than 42 percent of drivers had read a text while behind the wheel and nearly one-third had sent one while driving . . . in just the past month. Far too many of us are contributing to the problem.
When you’ve been injured or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a car crash, whether it was caused by distracted driving or some other reason, it’s important that you work with an attorney who understands Michigan car accident law.
David Christensen Law has extensive experience with this type of case and also offers a free consultation to all new clients. Call us at 248-213-4900 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation during a free consultation.