Archive for the ‘Texting While Driving’ Category

Thinking About Texting and Driving? It Can Wait.

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Is that text worth losing your life?

Did you know?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death of American teenagers with the number one cause of these deaths being the use of wireless devices.

Did you know?

Using a cell phone while driving, whether hands free or hand held is very dangerous. According to a Virginia Tech study, texting can delay a driver’s reaction time as much as having a BAC at the legal limit – 0.08%. (more…)

Teen Driver Safety

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They account for more than one in three deaths among teens, ages 16 to 19.  Luckily, parents can reduce the risks their teens run every time they get behind the wheel by educating them on some safe driving habits.

At the Cellino & Barnes personal injury law firm, we’re here to help educate and keep you and your children safe on the road. (more…)

Texting While Driving – Part 6: Conclusion

Monday, July 19th, 2010

 How did we get through the day before cell phones? We all managed somehow, didn’t we?

We were able to drive to work without texting our spouse a reminder to pick up the kids and we somehow made it two miles down the road without texting our friends “be right there”.

At Cellino & Barnes, we believe this series of blog posts has shown the dangers of texting while driving and how quickly someone can be seriously injured and killed due to this distraction.

We ask that you educate your children, family and friends on the dangers of texting while driving. Be safe and drive responsibly.

Texting While Driving – Part 5 – How Can You Help?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

 Think back to the times when you’ve texted while driving. Was it to text your boss those earnings forecasts? Or maybe a meet up with friends?

We’ve essentially been conditioned, like Pavlov’s dogs, to respond to our phone’s ringing and buzzes. It’s not as though our friends can’t wait till we get home to respond to their messages, nor does it make sense to focus our cognitive abilities on giving our bosses in-depth reports while we drive.

Our addiction to staying connected everywhere has essentially created a dangerous driving environment on the roads.

So, how can you help? Starting now, educate your children, family and friends on the dangers of texting while driving. The simple habit of waiting until you’re not behind the wheel could save a life.

Texting While Driving – Part 4 – Oprah’s Distracted Driving Episode – Sad Reminder

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

While doing research for this series on texting while driving, we were reminded just how dangerous distracted driving is and how quickly a tragic accident can happen.

There are numerous shocking texting while driving videos on the web, but we wanted to find a video that would share with you the stories behind the tragedies. This video clearly shares the pain people feel when they have lost a loved one in a texting while driving accident. It also shares the sorrow and remorse felt by someone who was the cause of a tragedy.


Although you may have seen this episode on texting while driving, which aired in January, 2010, it will have the same affect on you the second and third time you watch it. We encourage you to share this video with your loved ones.

Please do not text and drive.


Texting While Driving – Part 3 – Potential Solutions and Issues

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


While state legislation punishes drivers for driving while texting, many still often fail to do so.

Watch texting accident – YouTube

While authorities don’t have the capability to always be watching over everybody’s shoulder. Some possible solutions may be to encourage the creation of technologies that will prevent drivers from accessing their text messaging while driving. For instance, Textecution is a mobile phone application that blocks text messaging functions on your children’s phones while they drive. Essentially, how the program works is that it links into the phone’s GPS system and disables the text messaging function if a vehicle is moving more than 10 mph.

Similarly, Xuesong Zhou, a University of Utah researcher, has developed a device that disables cell phones entirely when a specially engineered car key is inserted into the car’s ignition.

Finally, several states have outlawed texting while driving, and others are moving to ban the practice. Additionally, legislators are trying to move bills to create federal legislation to keep drivers from texting while driving.

Texting While Driving – Part 2 – The Problem is Growing

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

In our previous post, we demonstrated the risk that drivers of light vehicles pose on the road. But what about drivers of heavy vehicles (e.g. trucks and trains)?

Believe it or not, operators of heavy vehicles are 23 times more likely to experience a safety critical event compared to a non-distracted operator when texting while operating. This represents a much higher statistic than drivers who are operating light vehicles (only 2.8 times more likely to experience a safety critical event).

Below is an article about the 2008 Chatsworth Train Collision, which killed 25 people on September 12, because the train operator was sending text messages.

The 2008 Chatsworth train collision occurred at 16:22 PDT (23:22 UTC) on Friday September 12, 2008, when a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California, in the United States. The scene of the accident was a curved section of single track on the Metrolink Ventura County Line just east of Stoney Point.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the cause of the collision, the Metrolink train ran through a red signal before entering a section of single track where the opposing freight train had been given the right of way by the train dispatcher. The NTSB faulted the Metrolink train’s engineer for the collision, concluding that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty.

Metrolink commuter train 111, consisting of a 250,000-pound (113,000 kg) EMD F59PH locomotive (SCAX 855) pulling three Bombardier BiLevel Coaches, departed Union Station in downtown Los Angeles at 15:35 PDT (22:35 UTC) heading westbound to Moorpark in suburban Ventura County. Approximately 40 minutes later, it departed the Chatsworth station with 222 people aboard, and had traveled approximately 1.25 miles (2 km) when it collided head-on with an eastbound Union Pacific local freight train. The freight train was led by two SD70ACe locomotives, UP 8485 and 8491, weighing more than 500,000 pounds (227,000 kg) each. The Metrolink locomotive telescoped into the passenger compartment of the first passenger car and caught fire. All three locomotives, the leading Metrolink passenger car and seven freight cars, were derailed, and both lead locomotives and the passenger car fell over.

The collision occurred after the Metrolink passenger train engineer, 46-year-old Robert M. Sanchez, apparently failed to obey a red, stop signal that indicated it was not safe to proceed into the single track section. The train dispatcher’s computer at a remote control center in Pomona did not display a warning prior to the accident according to the NTSB. Metrolink initially reported that the dispatcher tried in vain to contact the train crew to warn them; but the NTSB contradicted this report, saying the dispatcher noticed a problem only after the accident, and was notified by the passenger train’s conductor first.

Both trains were moving toward each other at the time of the collision. At least one passenger on the Metrolink train reported seeing the freight train moments before impact, coming around the curve. The conductor of the passenger train, who was in the rear car and was injured in the accident, estimated that his train was traveling at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) before it suddenly came to a dead stop after the collision. The NTSB reported that it was traveling at 42 miles per hour (68 km/h). The freight was traveling at approximately the same speed after its engineer triggered the emergency air brake only two seconds before impact, while the Metrolink engineer never applied the brakes on his train.

The events on September 12, 2008 leading up to the collision (all times local):

05:54        Engineer Sanchez begins his 11-hour split shift.
06:44        Sanchez begins his morning run.
08:53        Sanchez finishes his morning run after exchanging 45 text messages while en route.
09:26        Sanchez finishes the first part of his shift and goes off duty.
14:00        Sanchez returns to work after reportedly taking a two-hour nap.
15:03        Sanchez begins his afternoon run.
15:30        Sanchez uses his cell phone to order a roast beef sandwich from a restaurant in Moorpark.
15:35        Metrolink train #111 departs Union Station with Sanchez at the controls of locomotive #855.
16:13        The signal north of the Chatsworth station is set to red to hold the Metrolink train.
16:16        Train #111 is scheduled to depart Chatsworth station with the next stop in Simi Valley.
16:21:03        Sanchez receives a seventh text message while en route.
16:22:01        Sanchez sends the last of five text messages while en route, 22 seconds before impact.
16:22:19        The locomotive crews can first see each other 4 seconds before impact.
16:22:21        The Union Pacific freight engineer triggers the emergency brake 2 seconds before impact.
16:22:23        The trains collide after Sanchez ran through a track switch and did not apply the brakes.

Basic aftermath: Initially the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) originally dispatched a single engine company with a four person crew for a “possible physical rescue” at a residential address near the scene in response to a 9-1-1 emergency call from home. The crew arrived at the address four minutes later, just before 16:30 PDT and accessed the scene by cutting through the backyard fence. Upon arrival, the captain immediately called for an additional five ambulances and 30 fire engines and every heavy duty search and rescue unit in the city. Hundreds of emergency workers were involved in the rescue effort.

Austin Walbridge, a train passenger, describes the incident by saying: “Bloody, a mess. Just a disaster. It was horrible.” Emergency responders described the victims as having crush type injuries. Dr. Amal K. Obaid, a trauma surgeon who practices at USC University Hospital where several victims were treated, described their injuries in more detail, “They have head injuries, multiple facial fractures, chest trauma, collapsed lungs, rib fractures, pelvic fractures, leg and arm fractures, cuts in the skin and soft tissue. Some have blood in the brain.”

Trains derailed, massive damage caused by head-on collision

Last known text message sent: “yea… usually @ north camarillo”

Texting While Driving

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is a growing concern in communities across the United States and the world.  In many New York communities from Buffalo to Rochester and to the Bronx, numerous lives have been tragically lost because of texting while driving.

Cellino and Barnes offers this series of blog posts to help grapple with the lingering issues and potential solutions of texting while driving.

Part 1: Overview

One of the leading causes of serious injury and death in America is motor vehicle accidents.  How often do we see distracted drivers behind the wheel? People eating, applying makeup, talking on the phone… there always seems to be some distraction that is inhibiting a driver’s attention. In the last couple of years, a new distraction has arisen: Driving While Texting (DWT).

Under current legislation, the act of driving while texting is defined as: composing, sending, or reading text messages, email, or making similar use of the internet on a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. The practice is viewed by many authorities as dangerous and has been outlawed or restricted in twenty states and the District of Columbia.

While everybody understands that distracted driving is dangerous, some question how DWT is more dangerous than being distracted by a messy cheeseburger or a hot cup of coffee? Studies show that texting while driving increases the likelihood of accidents and distracted driving. For instance, a study conducted at the University of Utah found a six-fold increase in distraction-related accidents while texting. While a more recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute presents the follow facts:

  • Using driving studies of observing long-haul trucks and light vehicles driving 6 million combined miles, researchers observed 4,452 safety-critical incidents, which includes crashes, near-crashes, safety-critical events, and lane deviations
  • 81% of the safety critical events involved some type of driver distraction
  • Text messaging had the greatest relative risk, with drivers being 23 times more likely to experience a safety-critical event when texting.
  • The study also found that drivers typically take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of four out of six seconds when texting.

All in all, there is conclusive evidence of the dangers of driving while texting.  This post is part 1 of 6, presented by Cellino and Barnes.  Our firm is committed to helping the community deal with the growing problem of texting while driving.

Ross Cellino Discusses Impact of Teen Driving Legislation

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Attorney, Ross Cellino, who works in both the Rochester and Buffalo  offices, weighs the impact of the New York State Senate legislation that will toughen teen driving laws. Not only will it be illegal for drivers of all ages to text message while driving, but the bill further requires that a learner’s permit must be held for at least 6 months before a junior license can be obtained.  In addition, if there is no adult in the vehicle with a junior driver, the number of non-family members allowed in the vehicle will be reduced to one.

Rochester, NY residents may find the news timely and encouraging. Many have been affected by the recent news involving three Rochester teens killed in car accidents, as well as the five area teens killed last year as a result of texting while driving. Parents often worry about the safety of their young adults, particularly when they are driving with their friends.

Read more.

Lockport Woman in Serious Condition – Texting While Driving Accident

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


Aug 3, 2009 – Three people were injured when the driver of a tow truck struck a car at an intersection. The tow truck driver hit the back of the vehicle causing it to swerve out of control and crash through a resident’s backyard fence.

The car and motorcycle on the back of the tow truck flew off, damaging a residential home, destroying the air conditioning unit and house’s gas lines, ultimately landing in a swimming pool.

The woman driving the car in this car accident was transported to ECMC via helicopter for her serious injuries. An 8-year-old passenger was taken to Women and Children’s Hospital for her injuries.  Their car was totaled.

Truck driver has been charged with talking on a mobile phone [while driving], following too closely, and reckless driving. He was talking while driving and texting while driving on two separate mobile phones at the same time.