Slightly OT: Texting While Driving MA conviction

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ejwme
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found this: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/national_world&id=8691959

Jail: 1yr + 1.5 suspended.

License: revoked for 15 years (for MA, I assume he could relocate to another state and get one).

Not sure what to think about it myself, but I figured I’d post it to see what you guys thought. Apologies if it’s a repeat or too OT.


rice rocket
Participant
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Not that I don’t think he wasn’t texting and driving, but that jury was pretty hard on him. Pretty sure there’s a pretty big margin for reasonable doubt there, and they had no proof of what actually caused the accident.

Edit: Everyone should be forced to watch 12 Angry Men before they’re allowed on a jury.


salty
Participant
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Yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets off on appeal even if the kid’s story is total BS. That’s why these laws are dumb, it’s the same crap story as flip flop boy and any number of others. There’s absolutely irrefutable evidence that this kid killed someone with his car, but in order for that to be “wrong” they have to prove something much more difficult.

Why does it matter if he was “thinking about his homework” or texting (or drunk) while killing someone? The fact he was killing someone is the important part. What we really need is to get rid of the bullshit excuses that somehow make killing someone with your car ok.


chemicaldave
Participant
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His car crashed head on into the victim’s car after he crossed the center line. Regardless of whether you were texting, if you cross the center line then you have majorly effed up. I get the 15 year suspension, but not the only 40 hours of community service.


Mick
Participant
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It’s odd that he get’s 40 hours of community service when he’s getting a year in jail. I would go with either no community service or some substantial amount.

I beleive you need to sign something saying your license is not revoked in any other state to get a license.


Steven
Participant
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As I read the story, the texting-related charge was only for injuring the girlfriend. The motor vehicle homicide charge was unrelated to texting.

The article wasn’t clear, but for all we know, most of the sentence was for killing the guy, and the texting charge got him an extra few hours of community service after he’s released from his year in jail. (The only texting-related MA traffic law I could find carries a maximum penalty of $100 for a first offense, and no jail time. The motor vehicle homicide law, on the other hand, provides for the maximum 2.5 years in jail and the 15 year license suspension the guy got.)

And I don’t see any reasonable doubt on the vehicular homicide charge. His own testimony is that he was distracted, and following a car so closely that when it suddenly braked, he turned into oncoming traffic. He admits to multiple instances of incompetent driving right there, and it led to a death. Even assuming he’s being honest about the texting, his own “defense” merits the punishment he got.

So my guess is that despite the article’s emphasis, the texting law got the guy a wrist-slap, and his actual punishment had essentially nothing to do with it.


salty
Participant
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steven – that makes sense… my fault for trusting the “news” to accurately report something. but I obviously agree 100% about the “defense” thing, what he said should be considered incriminating, not mitigating.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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> License: revoked for 15 years (for MA, I assume he could relocate to another state and get one).

I believe that’s one of those things where the USDOT has been pushing interstate sharing really hard. They’re supposed to check, at least. (FWIW: “If you have not reconciled an outstanding sanction(s) in another state(s), PennDOT is unable to issue you any driver’s license product. For more information, please see the National Driver Register Fact Sheet (PDF).”)


quizbot
Participant
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Anonymous
Inactive
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^That doesn’t surprise me one bit, because I know I did it when I was a high school senior (not that I am even a tiny bit proud of it), and most of my friends did too.

I’ve recently been thinking about the way I drove at 16-19ish compared to the way I drive now (not many years later), and I suddenly find myself REALLY agreeing with people who want driving ages raised. When I think about the multitasking I would do, how fast I drove, etc., it terrifies and embarrasses me. I had no business driving a car. And I was more cautious and paranoid than a lot of my friends. Basically, it’s just insane that we let 16- and 17-year-olds drive cars. I always sort of took offense when my parents worried and told me about how my prefrontal cortex hadn’t developed yet, but I guess sometime in the past couple of years, it developed, because I suddenly realized that driving really could be, you know, DANGEROUS.

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