As Erie car accident lawyers, we’ve felt an obligation to try to spread the word about the dangers of texting and driving. That’s why we partnered with the Pennsylvania State Police and WJET to make presentations to area high schools and employers about the risks of texting and driving and it’s why we have spent so much time on that risk in other posts on this Erie accident law website. Today’s news brings another example of the risks of texting while driving.
A western Pennsylvania teen is reported to have caused a double fatal Pennsylvania car accident in Richland Township and is now facing criminal charges as a result. On June 11, 2013, Austin Molinich, 19, crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision with a car driven by Donald Evans, Sr., 71. Mr. Evans and his 19-year old granddaughter were killed in the accident. Phone records show that Molinich was texting just prior to the collision.
Mr. Molinich surrendered to Richland Township police on Monday and is facing charges that include homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter arising from the Pennsylvania car crash.
When we speak at area high schools about the many risks of texting while driving, we don’t just talk about why texting while driving is dangerous (it distracts the eyes, hands and eyes for an average of 4.6 seconds). We also talk about why people are so bad at recognizing the risk. The problem, of course, is that accidents don’t happen every time we text and drive. People can and do text and drive without anything bad happening. The part of our brains that senses and appreciates risk is good at sensing risk that is certain (like touching a hot stove) but it’s terrible when the risk is uncertain. In fact, text and drive once and get away with it and the brain starts to learn that it’s safe to text and drive.
Of course, the truth is that texting and driving is incredibly dangerous. A texting driver is 23x more likely to be involved in a car crash than is a non-distracted driver. And so while a driver may text and drive many times without an accident, the truth is that at least some of those drivers will be involved in accidents as a result.
As Mr. Molinich is finding out, the cost of such an accident far outweighs the benefit of texting while driving. Two lives were tragically ended. The families of the dead suffered a loss in their lives the pain of which may fade but will never leave them. Mr. Molinich will live with the guilt associated with the harm he caused and he and his family will have forced upon them the criminal consequences of his actions. For all that, his text could have waited.
Contact a Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
People injured in Pennsylvania car crashes must navigate their way through a complicated and sometimes hostile environment with powerful insurance companies who do not have their best interests at heart. The Erie car accident attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. can help if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Pennsylvania car accident. Call today for a free, no-strings attached consultation at our toll free number: 814-833-7100