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Distracted driving or impairment frequent cause of car accidents

For decades now, drivers here in Connecticut and across the country have been warned of the dangers of drinking and driving. In recent years, the prolific use of cell phones behind the wheel has prompted a separate campaign to keep people from using their phones while driving. Either one of these activities can lead to car accidents, but when they are combined, the potential for serious or fatal crashes increases dramatically.

One 23-year-old Connecticut woman found this out the hard way back in May. Police reports indicate that not only was she distracted by her cell phone conversation. They say she was also intoxicated. Officials made a point to say that she was not texting at the time of the crash; instead, she was talking on her cell phone.

Around 1:30 p.m. on May 6, her impairment and distracted driving led her to veer into the oncoming lane of traffic and slam head-on into another vehicle. The 69-year-old woman in the vehicle she hit died from the severe injuries she suffered in the impact. Recently, an arrest warrant was issued for the other driver. She turned herself in to police and faces charges of vehicular manslaughter in the second-degree, DUI and using a cell phone while driving, along with a charge for failing to keep right.

In addition to the criminal charges, she could face a wrongful death claim from the family of the deceased victim. The evidence prosecutors intend to present to the court in the criminal proceedings, along with proof of any conviction that might be secured, could be offered as evidence of her negligence in civil court. If the court determines that she was, in fact, responsible for the other woman's death, the family could be awarded damages typically seen in other car accidents.

Source: ctpost.com, "Police say driver in Shelton fatal crash was DUI, using cell phone", Jim Shay, Aug. 12, 2016

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