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Distracted Texas driver charged with manslaughter

When people hear about distracted driving accidents, they typically expect the distraction to be a cell phone or navigational device. However, anything can cause a distraction. Drivers who allow themselves to be preoccupied by things other than driving may find themselves the cause of tragic car accidents. One Texas man was recently charged with a felony after such an accident.

The 31-year-old man had a previous DUI conviction and was ordered by a judge to have an ignition interlock system in his pickup truck. The system requires the driver to give a breath sample before the vehicle will start, then to blow into the device at periodic intervals while driving. Originally, the man had told police he had looked away from the road to provide a breath sample when his truck hit a vehicle operated by an 18-year-old woman who was backing out of a driveway.

Now, police say the man has admitted he was not blowing into his ignition interlock device, but that he had dropped the device and was reaching onto the floor of his truck to locate it. He says he took his eyes off the road for four or five seconds, and when he looked again, the other vehicle was in the road in front of him. The driver died of her injuries a week after the accident.

Although the man was not impaired at the time of the accident, police estimate he was driving about 60 mph on the narrow, poorly-lit road. Police charged the man with felony manslaughter, saying his distraction behind the wheel placed the lives of others at risk. Unfortunately for the family of the young woman and other Texas victims of car accidents, nothing can fill the void left by the loss of a loved one. However, with the help of an attorney, families can seek compensation for their financial burdens through the civil justice system.

Source: NBC DFW, "Man Charged With Manslaughter in Crash That Killed Arlington Teen", Maria Guerrero, Dec. 16, 2017

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