Distracted Driving Caused Teen Death

August 20, 2012

Auto Accidents

distracted drivingA 58-year-old Franklin County, Ohio teacher was sentenced last week to three and one-half years in prison for the death of a teenager.  An Ohio judge told him the teen died because of the teacher’s distracted driving.

“Your distracted driving is the sole reason for this tragedy,” Judge Kimberly Cocroft explained in a Columbus, Ohio courtroom, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

When he gets out of prison, the Judge will require the teacher to speak to high-school students and other groups about the dangers of distracted driving.  The Judge also suspended Jacobs’ drivers’ license for 10 years.

The teacher is Daniel R. Jacobs of Reynoldsburg, OhioHis victim was Dalton Ludwig, who had just finished his sophomore year of high school and was 17 years old.  He was learning to drive when he was killed on July 1, 2010.

After the car crash, which occurred in the center lane of I-270, near Route 33, in Ohio, the Dispatch reported that Jacobs blamed the sun shining in his eyes for causing the car accident.  He also told an officer that he was trying to dial his phone while driving. More recently, Jacobs told the author of a pre-sentence investigation that the car crash had been triggered by a blown left rear tire.

Investigators used cell phone records to determine that Jacobs had been texting very near to the time of the car accident.

Jacobs pled guilty to a felony, aggravated vehicular homicide in a Franklin County Ohio courtroom.  Prosecutors charged Jacobs under the same statute  with recklessly causing the death of Ludwig. (Reference Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2903.06)

Texting while driving had not been mentioned in Jacobs’ indictment in February of 2011, the Dispatch said.

On August 31, 2012, Ohio will become the 39th state in the U.S. to prohibit all texting while driving for all motorists in Ohio.

A six-month warning period will follow.  Penalties for texting will have two levels of enforcement.  Drivers under 18 who are apprehended for texting while driving will face a primary offense of $150.  Second offenses will raise the penalty to a $300 fine with possible loss of license for the under 18 age group.

Adults will be fined $150 for texting while driving.  Their offense status is secondary.  In other words, they cannot be stopped just for texting.  If the driver is stopped in a community where the penalties for driving are more stringent than state law, local law will prevail.

The law will also prohibit novice drivers from using electronic devices while driving.  This includes cell phones, I-pads, laptops, etc.  (Novice drivers are those who have never held a driver’s license with full privileges.)   

In 2010, the state of Ohio did not have penalties for texting while driving.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in a car accident anywhere in Ohio, contact the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Please call 1-800-297-9191 or send us a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

To learn more about car accidents in Ohio and actions you can take as a victim of a car accident, please visit slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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One Comment on “Distracted Driving Caused Teen Death”

  1. John Anthony Says:

    I am a big supporter of the cause against distracted driving, it’s realy scary that distraction is a factor in 80% of crashes! Recently I made an infographic about distracted driving statistics, if you want you can take a look at it http://855winthecase.com/blog/infographics/distracted-driving-statistics-and-laws/


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