Distracted driving is a “deadly epidemic,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has an entire website devoted to the problem and is in the middle of a national campaign designed to bring attention to the issue, which occurs not just among teens or inexperienced drivers, but can affect anyone. Just ask the father of a 17-year-old who was killed in a car accident on interstate 94 east of Hudson, Wisconsin, last week. Two other 17-year-old boys were also killed in the crash, which was blamed on distracted driving.
The father of one of the boys said he is also questioning a faulty warning sign that apparently was not working properly ahead of the construction zone where the car accident happened. Four boys were returning from a shopping trip when they noticed a girl travelling in the eastbound right hand lane. They were travelling in the left hand lane, also going east when they tried to get her attention. The driver was searching for a piece of paper in which to write on when the car crashed into the back of a flatbed semi-truck which had stopped for traffic.
Three of the boys were killed while the fourth was not seriously hurt in the crash. A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said there has been an increase in the number of accidents in this area, with 13 accidents occurring since April. Eleven of those accidents have involved death or serious injuries. Although the agency discounted the father’s concerns regarding improper warning signs in the area, additional signage has been installed in both directions in that area.
While it is always difficult to lose a loved one, losing a child at such a young age and through a mostly preventable act has additional pain and grief for the family members. Although no amount of money can ease that pain, there are instances where a wrongful death action may be needed to help allay the funeral and burial expenses. A wrongful death action may be brought when one party’s negligence causes the death of another. Three children senselessly lost their lives, perhaps due to distracted driving.
Estimates state that in 2010 alone more than 3,000 people have lost their lives to distracted driving in the U.S. with countless others seriously injured. Distracted driving is indeed a deadly epidemic, as three Wisconsin families know all too well.
Source: StarTribune, “Pursuit of girl distracted teens in fatal crash on I-94 in Wis.,” Paul Walsh, Aug. 9, 2012