Distracted driving has become such a problem that many states are now enforcing traffic laws outlawing texting while driving. On average, distracted driving claims about 9 lives daily, making about 3,500 deaths yearly from the habit. In 2017, an estimated 391,000 drivers were injured in crashes that involved distracted driving, more than the number of people who were killed by gun violence. So far in 2019, distracted driving has been a reported factor in 8.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes. Distracted driving costs society about $40 million per year.
WSB TV reports that it is not just regular people affected by distracted driving; police officers can become distracted, as one Gwinnett County accident shows. Gwinnett County Police officer Todd Ramsey was going nearly 70 m.p.h. in stop and go traffic on Interstate 85 when he slammed into the back of a car being driven by Sarah Wood.
At the time of the crash, Ramsey had multiple browser screens open on his onboard computer terminal. One of those browser screens was playing a Grand Theft Auto video at the time of the crash. Ramsey told investigators that he was having a problem with his eye or with his contact at the time of the accident.
After the accident, Wood was in a coma for four weeks. The hearing aids she wears for congenital deafness now hurt her to wear. This accident was Ramsey’s eighth at-fault accident. Six months after the accident, Ramsey was demoted from master police officer to police officer senior. He was also permanently assigned to the Tele-Serve unit and prohibited from driving or operating a Gwinnett County vehicle for any reason.
Woods medical bills are more than $500,000 and growing. Her attorney is currently in settlement talks with the county.
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