Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Can driving distracted = reckless homicide?

There was apparently a report on the radio earlier today (I didn’t hear it, but one of my employees let me know) referring to a recent death in our county. I had a bit about it earlier this week in a post. There is also a listener poll on the WGN website pertaining to the death asking if a death caused by a distracted driver should be pursued as reckless homicide? From what I heard, our State’s Attorney has decided “no”, at least in this case.

We have not yet closed our investigation and ruled on the manner of this woman’s death, but I think we are leaning toward (reckless) homicide.

Is driving distracted by eating or texting or doing your nails really any different than being distracted by the effects of alcohol?

Yes I know, and truly believe, that the driver’s self punishment is going to be greater than anything the court system could mete out, but that is no reason to not prosecute this case as you would any other similar case. If it is wrong, it is wrong. If you pursue it in some, you should pursue it in all. Reckless homicide is not restricted to cases in which intoxication is demonstrated.

Added: Interesting fact from an article I just came across

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that simple distractions - talking on a cell phone, reaching for something on the floor, looking too long at something on the side of the road - caused 80 percent of the crashes and 65 percent of the near-crashes observed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An editorial in the Tribune yesterday included this paragraph: "Last year, a task force headed by Secretary of State Jesse White recommended three new offenses -- negligent vehicular operation, aggravated negligent vehicular operation and negligent vehicular homicide, depending on the severity of damage caused by a distracted driver involved in a crash. The General Assembly settled for a ban on texting while driving." There has got to be something between a $100 ticket and 15 years - life