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CRESCENT CITY, Calif, – Though text messaging while driving has been banned in California since earlier this summer, another life was lost by the reckless use of this electronic distraction this week.

The Daily Triplicate reported yesterday that a four-car crash occurred on U.S. Highway 101 killing a 63 year-old Smith River man and injuring others.

The crash occurred in the southbound lanes when the deceased stopped with others behind a dump truck that was preparing to turn left. A Ford Explorer driven by a 40 year-old Oregon woman approached from behind at about 55 mph. The Explorer hit the decendent’s vehicle thrusting it into oncoming traffic where it was hit again by another truck. The driver was killed immediately.

During the investigation, a marijuana pipe and drugs not belonging to the Oregon woman were found in her car. She was arrested for DUI. It was also determined that she may have been text-messaging when the crash occurred. The matter has been turned over to the local district attorney for prosecution.

This is the third fatal crash that we are aware of involving cell phone or text messaging use this year. The law is plain that Californians are not permitted to use hand held cell phones while they are driving. Nor may they text message while driving. As we have previously reported, many studies have shown that cell phone use or text messaging while driving impairs the driver to the same degree as alcohol or drug intoxication. In this case, it was a combination of both that ended an innocent life. We strongly urge all drivers to stop using these electronic devices while driving. If there is an urgent need to communicate with someone, it takes only a second to pull over and then phone.

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