When does it stop? The latest victim is a 15-year-old teenager from Vernal, Utah. The boy and a friend were walking along the shoulder of 500 West in Vernal around 9:00 p.m. Sunday, when a pick-up driven by a 28 year-old man drifted off the road and hit him – there was no sidewalk at the location where the crash occurred. Police have confirmed that the pick-up driver was texting at the time of the crash.
The boy was transported to Ashley Valley Medical Center and then flown by medical helicopter to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City in extremely critical condition. He died from his injuries yesterday afternoon. The case will be presented to the Uintah County attorney's office for possible charges that could include a second degree felony charge of automobile homicide while operating an electronic device.
The criminalization of driving while intexicated by the Utah Legislature is admirable, but the root of the problem needs to be addressed. People simply need to put the phone down while driving and leave it down. It is not easy at first. We have all become so accustomed to 24 hour access to family, friends, co-workers, etc. and we take it for granted whether we are in a car, at home, on a beach or on a ski slope. But when we utilize that access while driving, phones become lethal weapons. Put them down in the car, leave them alone while driving, and enjoy some alone time in the car or have a conversation, while paying attention, to others in the car with you. You might save a life by doing so.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.