A judge’s discretion in forgoing jail time for a teenage drunk driver who killed four people is being called into question in the national press this week. The case involves a 16-year-old who apparently stole beer from a local store and then drove drunk, eventually crashing into a distressed vehicle and several bystanders who had stopped to render aid. The 16-year-old was sentenced to rehabilitation and probation, but no time behind bars, after successfully arguing that he did not appreciate the connection between his actions and consequences due to a psychological condition called “affluenza”.
The dangers of drinking and driving are well documented. Regardless, there are still drivers around the country and here in California who get behind the wheel of a car after they have been drinking. Authorities say that a recent single car accident was caused by an underaged drunk driver.
A California woman has taken to social media to express her outrage after a highway patrol officer pulled her over and issued a ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass. Google Glass is a new device still in testing mode that allows users to operate a small screen suspended in front of their face using voice commands. The screen can browse the web, view photos and videos and do a variety of other tasks. The woman’s online posts expressed confusion about whether California distracted driving laws allowed the issuing of such a ticket. In her case it was given under a part of the state code that was written to apply to video monitors installed in some luxury cars but is broadly written to include screens of any nature visible to a driver, except for those used for GPS devices or backup cameras.
Safety behind the wheel is a major concern for any California parent who has a teen near driving age or recently licensed. This is for good reason – car accidents are the leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 14 and 18-years-old in the United States.
Even though the dangers of texting while driving are well known, a recent study found that four out of five college students choose to do it anyways. The study was intended to look at the relationship between having an impulsive personality and the likelihood of texting while driving, but instead found that impulsiveness was not a predictor for those surveyed.
Did you know that each week in the United States 40 children are injured in a backover car accident? Backover accidents happen most frequently in parking lots and driveways when a driver is unable to see a child because of a blind spot behind their vehicle. Out of the 40 children who are involved in one of these accidents every week, about two are fatally injured.
Distracted driving has become the focus of various public safety campaigns as more and more people become aware of the dangers, particularly of using a cellphone while behind the wheel. There have been various efforts at trying to curb distracted driving, particularly among car companies and cellphone companies trying to make devices less prone to misuse. For example, one program disabled applications when the device is traveling at a certain speed, which is effective for drivers but may not be helpful if you are a passenger in a car.