- Thursday, June 07, 2012
The current law in Massachusetts makes it illegal for a person to text and drive and it is illegal
for any person under the age of 18 to use a mobile telephone or hands free device while operating a motor vehicle. Teenager Aaron Deveau was convicted in Haverhill District Court for motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation while texting. On February 20, 2011 at 2:36pm when he was driving and crossed the center line of a Haverhill street, crashing into a 55 year old victim’s car. Eighteen days later, the victim died of complications from the accident. Deveau, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was one of the first people convicted under the September 2010 law which created the criminal offense of texting while driving negligently and causing injury.
The prosecution claimed that Deveau was texting while driving instead of paying attention to the road. Records reveal that on the day of the accident Deveau had received text messages at 2:34pm and 2:35pm, and sent and received 193 throughout that day. Deveau claims he not texting, just distracted by other things such as homework and was tired. Deveau’s attorney stated that the prosecutors were trying to link the death to the texting from the outset, that the cause and effect relationship lacked validity, and that the number of text messages sent and received on the day of the accident was irrelevant.
Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles offered statistics that in 2012, so far, 283 drivers have been cited for texting while driving and in 2011, 1,147 citations were issued for the offense. Deveau received the maximum sentence of 2 years in jail for causing a motor vehicle accident while texting and 2 1/2 years for motor vehicle homicide, to be served concurrently, with but a year suspended due to his lack of criminal record. The conviction also resulted in a 15-year suspension of his license. The harsh sentence was meant to deter individuals from texting while driving in the future. Read full article here.