A Portland, Oregon teen was recently given a five-year prison sentence for a hit-and-run auto accident that killed his teacher. He was driving while texting on his phone, something which has now been outlawed in Oregon.
As a result of the distractions caused by talking or texting on phones during driving, Oregon instituted a new law at the turn of the year requiring motorists to use hands-free devices for phone use while driving. This comes too late for Gordon Patterson who was killed in a vehicular homicide by a former student. The student, Antonio Eugene Cellestine, 18, admitted he was distracted while texting on his cell phone. He was quoted by The Oregonian Saturday as saying, “I loved Mr. Patterson. Mr. Patterson and I had a really close relationship.” He was sentenced to five years in Prison under a plea agreement. The story is made more tragic by the fact that Cellestine had been the beneficiary of George Patterson‘s particular style, which was to make every student feel special.. Now Cellestine must not only face prison time but the knowledge that he killed someone who had been his mentor, guide and friend.
This story, made more poignant by its details, is played out with different characters in different places in a variety of situations, all of whom center on distractions that occur while driving. That’s why some localities have initiated strict laws against such things as texting or talking on the telephone while driving. As of January 2010 6 states have similar bans including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, according to the Governors State Highway Association.
While some states have banned cell phone use while driving, the majority still have yet to enact such laws. In the meantime a considerable number of countries have banned cellphone use while driving since the early 2000's, including such countries as China, Germany, Brazil, Egypt, Canada, France and others listed here.