Government statistics from 2012 allege that an estimated 421,000 people were injured that year as a result of “distracted driving,” which is 420,989 more than were injured by mass shooter Elliot Rodger.
I’m always amused, bemused, befuddled, and confounded by how people calibrate their Social Justice Hysteria Meters. If all human lives are equal, why isn’t there far more outrage about driving while texting than there is about mass shootings? Is it because nearly everyone seems to do it, while only a few SSRI-addled males go on shooting rampages, so it’s easier to point fingers? And is it more deadly to text and point fingers while driving than it is merely to text while driving? I would think it is. And I guess we’ll never know how many people have died or been crippled in car accidents while engaged in hashtag activism.
Anyway, kids, don’t text and drive unless you have a death wish or you think it’d be cool to eat through a straw for the rest of your life while communicating through a DECtalk Synthesizer like Stephen Hawking. Here are ten cases that show the folly of being such a slave to your smartphone that it makes you a murderer or a suicide victim.
1. Woman Dies Moments After Posting on Facebook About How A Song Called “Happy” Makes Her Happy
In April 2014, 32-year-old Ann Sanford was driving merrily along a North Carolina road, talking selfies and posting to Facebook. Only a minute after she had posted, “The happy song makes me HAPPY,” police were called to the scene of her fatal car crash.
2. Aspiring Rapper Tweets “YOLO,” Then Dies In Car Crash
This is technically a case of Tweeting while riding, although the tweets in question would give an impartial and sober observer the impression that the tweeter was behind the wheel. Late one night in 2012, Southern California rapper Ervin McKinness—no relation to frequent Thought Catalog contributor Gavin McInnes—tweeted “Driving tweeting sipping the cup fuck yolo I’m turning it up.” (That tweet has since been removed.) Within moments, the driver of his vehicle ran a red light, killing all five male passengers within it.
3. Man Texts That He Needs To Quit Texting, Then Drives Off Cliff
In January of 2012, a Texan named Chance Bothe—I don’t name them, I only report their names—was driving his pickup truck and texting back and forth with a friend. He texted, “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident,” then accidentally drove his truck off a cliff. He survived, but only after suffering a “broken neck, a crushed face, a fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries.”
4. Girl Posts That Driving And Facebooking Isn’t Safe, Crashes At 80MPH
Eighteen-year-old Taylor Sauer was making the four-hour trek between Utah State University and her parents’ home in Idaho in January 2012. According to police, she had been posting on Facebook every 90 seconds during her drive. Mere seconds after texting, “‘Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha,” she rear-ended a tanker truck at 80MPH and died instantly.
5. 16-Year-Old Girl Dies While Texting On Her First Solo Drive
Savannah Nash of Harrisonville, MO had received her driver’s license less than a week before taking her first unaccompanied drive. She was apparently typing a text message while pulling onto a highway, where a semi truck smashed into her and killed her.
6. Girl Crashes Into School Bus And Dies While Texting On First Day Of School
Deianerah Logan—again, I’m not making up these names, only reporting them—was described as a popular 17-year-old high-school senior with a promising future. Although a sheriff claimed that Deianerah’s “life was taken way too early,” the only person who apparently “took” it was Deianerah, who was texting when she crashed into a school bus and died.
7. Truck Driver Kills Cop While Looking At Pictures Of Chicks On Facebook
Late in 2013 professional truck driver Jorge Espinoza was blithely hurtling down the road at 65MPH with his giant steel death machine set on cruise control as he was “looking at pictures of women on Facebook.” According to police reports, he had been perusing “photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing” and “photographs of a woman in a low cut dress” when he should have been looking at the road. As a result, he smashed into five police vehicles, killing one officer.
8. Girl Taps Out One Letter, Doesn’t Send, Dies In Crash
In 2009, Kansas State University sophomore Ashley Umscheid was replying to her sister’s text while driving. She merely pecked out the letter “K”—short for “OK”—and didn’t even send it before her truck flipped over and sent her flying out its window. She died three days later from her injuries.
9. Cheerleader Dies Only Hours After Her State Outlawed Texting While Driving
A mere eight hours after the State of Pennsylvania outlawed text messaging while driving, 17-year-old cheerleader Alexis Summers, described by a friend as an “all American girl” who was “caring and kind,” was carelessly typing a text message on her phone when she smashed into a tree and died.
10. Teenaged Male Serves A Month For Killing Two People While Texting, Then Pushes For Law That Mandates Much Tougher Sentencing
Nineteen-year-old Utah resident Reggie Shaw killed two men while texting and driving. He served a mere 30 days in jail for ending two lives. Then, without a hint of irony, he began campaigning for much tougher laws that would put offenders behind bars for up to 15 years for the same crime he’d committed. He received accolades for his campaign, although he apparently did not offer to serve the 15 years he thought that others should serve.