It boggles my mind that people even have to be told not to text and drive (do they have to be told not to play chess?), but this story goes a lot farther than that. It's about a young woman who hit a cyclist near Koroit, a small rural town in western Victoria, Australia. The cyclist was on the edge of the road when the car hit him from behind, despite there being lights on the back and front of his bike. He suffered a spinal fracture which required surgery and placement in a spinal cage, as well as a broken big toe and lacerations to his head and body. He was originally told he could be left a paraplegic and spent three months recovering.
Tragic so far, but nothing that doesn't happen frequently. With billions of people on the road every day, accidents are bound to happen (it's the law of large numbers), though that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do a lot more to make roads safe for everybody. But what's infuriating in this case is why the accident happened, and the attitude of the driver, which sadly must not be unique.
Texting 44 times with 7 different people... while drivingKimberley Davis, 21, of Grant Street, Port Fairy (shown on the map above), was found to have used her phone to text while behind the wheel 44 times before hitting her victim, sending and receiving 22 text messages to seven different people (She was in a conversation with 7 people while driving? Talk about distracting!). She refused to help him her victim and parked 100 meters up the road and couldn't believe that he had to call triple-O (the equivalent of 9-1-1 emergency services in Australia). Oh, and she had a "provisional driver" license too.
When questioned by police officers two days after the accident, she said (and I quote):
“I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bull***t and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it. I’m kind of p****d off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”
You don't care? You don't agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist (what does that even mean?)?!? Your precious car is worth more than a human life?!?
So how does the story end? With a fine of $4500 and a lost licence for nine months. This is way too light a sentence for someone who has shown reckless disregard for human life and no understanding that driving is serious business and very dangerous.