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Intexticated

Claim:   Photographs show the results of an automobile accident caused by an 'intexticated' driver.

UNDETERMINED

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2009]

The very real human consequences that can result from driving while 'InTEXTicated'.

An 18-year-old girl plowed directly into the rear of another vehicle. She was going 70 mph. She apparently never even saw them. You see, she had been texting at the time.

You can see that she hit them dead-center with no attempt to slow or evade the collision.

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She hit dead-center on her 2008 Yukon SUV as well. She escaped unscathed.

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There was no blowout, no wet road, no curve or hill or fog to limit visibility. This girl clearly should have been able to see the traffic conditions at least a half mile ahead had she been looking and not texting. She nearly killed a beautiful 3-year-old child?

Here's a personal look at the real human cost of texting while driving:
Griffin before the accident.

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Griffen the day after 4 hours of surgery to repair multiple skull fractures. He would surely have died or been severely disabled had they not been minutes away (by StarFlight helicopter) from Austin's world-class children's Dell Children's Medical Center and neurosurgeon Dr. Timothy George.

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Day 4 - watching a movie on his Dad's iPhone.
The swelling of his head will go away, but that scar from ear-to-ear will be with him forever.

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Feeling better. Mmmmm - mac-n-cheese. :-)

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Day 5 - feeling much better. My granddad bought me my very own iPod and loaded it with movies. Life is good.

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This morning. All my tubes are finally out. I'm going home today!
Note how much the swelling has improved in just three days.

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It's almost unbelievable that it's been only five days since the accident that nearly claimed his life.


All the medical experts involved expect him to make a full recovery.
Pretty soon he'll be all healed up and back to normal - thank the Lord!
In only six weeks he'll be allowed to be just as active as any other 3-year-old.


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Phone company records of text messages are irrefutable and accurate to the second; so it would be an easy matter to prove in court that a person was texting at the time of an accident. As with drunken driving, a jail sentence (no matter the driver's age) will be mandatory whenever anyone is injured by an InTEXTicated driver.

I encourage you to forward this email to all your friends. We must try to stop 'Driving While InTEXTicated' before more innocent people are maimed or killed.
 

Origins:   Ever since the earliest days of the automobile, drivers have been prone to distractions that divert their attention from the process of controlling their vehicles and thereby cause accidents — everything from
chattering passengers, spouses, and children; to radios and stereos; to all sorts of activities that motorists should not be attempting in moving automobiles (eating, reading, shaving, applying makeup).

In recent years, cell phones have been added to the list of potential motorist distractions. Although the use of hands-free cell phone devices can ameliorate the problem of drivers' using such devices to make or receive phone calls in moving automobiles (and some states have already passed laws banning use of non-hands-free cell phones by drivers), texting remains a problem — it's a process that inherently takes both a motorist's mental focus and his hands away from controlling his vehicle. The word intexticated has been coined to describe "people (mostly teenagers) who drive while texting on their cellphones," and the photographs displayed above purportedly illustrate the results of an accident caused by just such an "intexticated" teen.

These pictures do indeed chronicle the aftermath of a collision that took place along Highway 21 in Bastrop County, Texas, on 19 October 2008, when an SUV driven by an 18-year-old girl slammed into the rear of a vehicle belonging to Dr. Mason Jones of Austin, Texas. The Joneses' three-year-old son, Griffin, was critically (but fortunately not fatally) injured in that accident:
"[Griffin's] head was badly misshapen and he said 'mommy my head hurts,'" Dr. Jones said. "I called 911 myself."

Griffin had several skull fractures and had to undergo emergency neuro and facial surgery. After learning their son would fully recover, his parents' emotions shifted from heartache to anger.

"How can you miss a car sitting in the freeway and have two cars pass on the right and still hit us so severely without even braking," Dr. Jones said.
Although news accounts of the accident reported that the "Joneses believe the 18-year-old driver who hit them was text messaging," we have listed this item as "Undetermined" for now because we do not yet know if investigators have definitively determined that the other driver was indeed texting at the time her SUV struck the Joneses' vehicle.

A few weeks after this accident, however, a Texas legislator filed a bill seeking to ban the operator of a motor vehicle from using "a wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped." That bill (SB51) has apparently been referred to committee and not yet brought to a vote.

For those concerned about Griffin's current condition, Dr. Jones told us that "By the grace of God, Griffin seems to be his normal, happy, healthy self. To my eye, and those of his other doctors, he seems to be 100%."

Last updated:   24 February 2009

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Sources:

    Stolp, Katherine.   "Austin Child Critically Hurt in suspected 'Texting While Driving' Crash."
    KEYE-TV [Austin].   28 October 2008.

    KEYE-TV [Austin].   "Bill Filed to Make Texting While Driving Illegal in Texas."
    10 November 2008.