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Fatal accident caused by truck driver surfing the Internet

Thanks to multiple studies and informative public safety campaigns, most people have a rather solid appreciation of just how dangerous talking, texting or surfing the web while driving can actually be.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that despite this appreciation, many motorists still continue to undertake this dangerous habit, perhaps justifying it in their minds as something they’ll do only this one time or something they can do more safely than others.

No matter the justification, no matter the circumstances, people must remember using a smart phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and must be avoided at all costs.

To illustrate just what can happen when people put their smart phones before smart driving, consider a recent truck accident that resulted in the wrongful death of an officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

During the late afternoon hours back on May 6, emergency responders were called to the scene of a roadside accident on Interstate 8 in Arizona. As these responders worked to clear the scene, an empty tanker truck barreling down the highway at 65-miles-per-hour suddenly appeared and showed no signs of slowing down.

While one officer motioned frantically for the semi to slow down from the side of the road, the efforts were of no avail and he had to leap out of the way before the truck rear-ended a parked squad car.

Tragically, the truck crash, which one emergency responder described as “the loudest, craziest banging commotion I’ve ever heard,” killed a law enforcement officer seated inside the squad car.

In the aftermath of the crash, police questioned the 33-year-old truck driver, who was uninjured in the crash, as to what happened immediately prior to the truck accident. Here, the truck driver responded that he’d briefly looked away from the road at a passing truck before colliding with the squad car.

The subsequent investigation, however, revealed that this was not what happened.

Video footage from a dashboard mounted company camera revealed that the truck driver was busy looking at his smart phone just prior to the accident and that he had tried unsuccessfully to block the camera with his wallet to mask his phone use.

The truck driver was ultimately charged with 20 felony counts, including second-degree murder charges. He has since pleaded not guilty and has been released for the time being after posting a $200,000 bond.

It remains to be seen if the family of the fallen officer will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against either the truck driver or the company for which he worked. Stay tuned for developments …

If you’ve been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by distracted driving, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights and fight for the justice you deserve.

Source: ABC News, “Truck driver was on Facebook at time of fatal crash, cops say,” Daisha Riley and Suzan Clarke, Nov. 5, 2013

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