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A teenager in Massachusetts was sentenced to two years in prison and loss of his driver’s license for 15 years as a result of causing a fatal automobile accident while texting and driving.

Aaron Deveau is the first person in Massachusetts to face charges of motor vehicle homicide by texting.  According to prosecutors, Deveau, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was texting while driving on February 20, 2011 when his motor vehicle crossed the centerline and crashed head on into a truck operated by a 55 year old father of three.  The truck driver died of severe head trauma 18 days after the crash.

Judge Stephen Abany imposed the maximum sentence, saying he was sending a “message of deterrence to Massachusetts drivers.” Abany continued, stating that “[p]eople really want to be safe on the highways. People need to keep their eyes on the road, keep their eyes on the road.”

David Teater, senior director of transportation initiative at the National Safety Council, voiced agreement with Judge Abany’s ruling. “People can violate these laws and there really isn’t much of a deterrence without examples like this,” he said. “Clearly, being distracted is an extremely deadly thing that’s going on I this country and people need to understand they just can’t do it.”

Although Deveau claims he was not texting at the time of the accident and did not recall texting while driving, his phone records show that he sent a text message at 2:34 p.m. and received a response at 2:35 p.m. The accident took place at 2:35 p.m. according to police investigators.

Texting while behind the wheel is a criminal offense in the District of Columbia and 38 states, including Massachusetts.

“This is a threat that did not exist just a few years ago, and we’ve never had to understand how being connected to a mobile world was danger. Unfortunately now the way we’re beginning to understand the danger of it is by people getting hurt and dying. And that needs to change,” said Teater.

For more information, contact the Ohio cell phone accident lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List. 

Source: NBC News, “Massachusetts teen sentenced to prison for texting and driving,” Andrew Mach, June 6, 2012.