Laura Hunt, the driver of the car, admitted to being distracted behind the wheel while she was painting her fingernails. Crash scene photographs show streaks of dark red polish around the car's interior.
On Thursday May 6th, 2010 a jury of eight women and four men found Hunt guilty of reckless homicide. Hunt has not yet been sentenced, but she can receive anything from probation, to 5 years in prison.
I have been following this story since I heard about it over a year ago. Since the accident, Anita's son Greg Zaffke Jr. has founded an activist group called the Black Nail Brigade. Zaffke paints his fingernails on one hand black in memory of his mother, and as a way to start conversations about distracted driving.
His organization does a great job of creating awareness about the dangers associated with distracted driving.
The topic of distracted driving has been in the media a lot lately. Oprah Winfrey has been a great resource to shed light on the growing epidemic. She has started a campaign called the No Phone Zone, where she pleads to the public to make their car a no phone zone by signing a pledge. The specific distraction she is referring to is texting and/or talking on a cell phone while driving. Statistics show that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. Almost 6,000 people are killed and over 500,000 people are injured each year by distracted drivers.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of teen fatalities. Recent studies show that nearly 50% of teens admit to text messaging while driving.
Please take the time to look at the links I have provided. I think you will find the arguments compelling. If you talk on the phone, or text, or read, or apply makeup, etc. while driving, please think ahead and consider the potential consequences of your actions. If you have teenage children who drive, have them watch the full Oprah episode that started her movement.