The family of retired Phoenix firefighter, Tom Hall, is working to create harsher penalties for distracted driving. Hall was killed in April by a distracted driver that was reaching for her phone. The driver only received a ticket for the incident.
Hall Family Pushes for Harder Distracted Driving Penalties
The crash in which Tom Hall died happened on April 2, and was caught on camera by an ambulance that was already on the scene. A sedan that was driving in the right lane crashed into Hall, who was on his motorcycle without a helmet.
“I see him flying through the air, hitting her windshield, every day of my life,” said Catherine Hall, Tom’s widow.
As was explained by Jonathan, Tom’s son, “In her statement, she said she was reaching down looking for her phone. That took my dad’s life. She said she didn’t even know she hit a motorcycle until she got out of her car and saw it laying (sic) in the road.”
“I’m really angry. It’s just a miscarriage of justice,” said Jonathan Hall. “I mean, my dad died and it was so senseless.”
Citation for Distracted Driving
The driver was cited on July 20, 2016. According to a statement by the Prescott Valley Police Department saying:
The investigation process and protocols with this fatal accident were consistent with others of this same nature.
Once the bulk of the investigation was completed (and that is often a lengthy process) a full compilation of the investigative materials is created for the sole purpose of review by the County Attorney for their opinion and direction as to the imposition of felony criminal charges. That step was completed and submitted to the County Attorney, who by statute, have 30 days to review and make a determination.
The County Attorney, during the course of their review, made additional inquiries and those were responded to specifically.
At the end of that first process, The Yavapai County Attorney’s office determined that no felony criminal charges were appropriate in this matter. Their determination was made giving weight to all that is presented to them in our investigation in addition to their own direct inquiries and determinations regarding the facts and the likelihood of an appropriate and successful prosecution.
After that first determination, we then take the same investigative package of information to the Town of Prescott Valley Prosecutor for their review as to misdemeanor charges that may be appropriate. That review resulted in the determination that there could be no successful prosecution under any misdemeanor statute as well.
Each investigation is unique and all the facts and circumstances in this matter collectively analyzed and reviewed by both prosecutorial offices did not result in the recommendation from either that a prosecution for a criminal action be enjoined. Accordingly, [the driver] was left with being cited for a civil traffic violation alone, which was completed shortly after the determinations were made.
“It’s ridiculous that I have to deal with that for the rest of my life, and this is just going to be $180 in the rear-view window,” Jonathan said of the fact that the driver only received a citation.
Jonathan is working to find sponsors for what he is calling Tom’s Law. The legislation would define searching for or using a cell phone while driving as reckless and criminally negligent, thus making it a felony if a person is on his or her phone during a fatal accident.
“Nothing’s going to change until those who are unaffected are as mad at ones who are, and that’s when we’re going to get changed,” Jonathan said.
According to data collected by ADOT, in 2015, distracted driving contributed to at least 33 fatal crashes and nearly 8,000 distracted drivers were involved in crashes on Arizona roadways.
The following are all forms of distracted driving:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
If you have been involved in an accident as the result of distracted driving, there are a number of things you’ll need to do.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
- Leave the scene. You are legally required to stop, check on the other person and car involved, exchange all insurance and contact information and report it to law enforcement. Failure to do so means you’ve committed a crime.
- Forget to call 911. Even if the car accident seems minor, if you don’t get an official police report that documents the accident, what proof do you have? Sometimes law enforcement might not respond to collision unless there are injuries, but you always have an opportunity to get a report of the accident. This can help in the claim process, as well as protect you.
- Lose your cool. Try to remain as calm as possible and be polite.
- Admit fault. Do not admit to anything. But doing so, you’re legally admitting liability for the accident. This can expose you to lawsuits or other penalties.
- Forget proper documentation. Documenting any damage done to cars or the scene will provide you with any necessary evidence should the accident lead to a lawsuit. Try to take a few minutes to write down what happened from your point of view. Note time, date, streets, makes models and colors of cars, direction you were heading, contact information, and information from any witnesses that were at the scene. This will all help to build your case and help determine liability.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney that can help you build your case. They have the experience necessary to ensure you are able to prove your injuries so that you can collect the compensation you are owed.
<p> The attorneys at <a href="https://www.personalinjuryattorneys.me/car-accident-attorney-phoenix/">Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as car accidents</a>, <a href="https://www.personalinjuryattorneys.me/slip-and-fall-attorney-phoenix/">slip and fall accidents</a>, and <a href="https://www.personalinjuryattorneys.me/dog-bite-attorney-phoenix/">dog bites</a>. After contacting an attorney they will investigate the specifics of the personal injury. The more information you can provide to them, the better. That means specifics of the crash, any witness information, any medical bills or time spent in hospital, and the specifics of your injuries. They will build a case for you based on these specifics and then defend you should the case go to trial. You'll want to work with experienced personal injury attorneys like the ones at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC. </p> </div> </div>