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A year ago, Michelle Smith hit and killed a 9-year-old girl, Erica Forney, riding her bike in the bike lane in Fort Collins. Though she doesn’t have a clear memory of the crash, it is believed that Smith was distracted after finishing a cell phone call while driving. As part of her plea agreement, Smith was required to write a letter of apology to the victim’s family which was recently published, according to The Denver Channel, ABC 7 News.

The newspaper [Fort Collins Coloradan] reported that Smith wrote in the letter that, if she had appreciated the risks associated with cell-phone use while driving, Erica Forney might still be alive.“My heart and prayers are and will always be with the Forneys,” she concluded in her letter.

Below are some cell phone driving statistics provided by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

  • Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands free) extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08%. (University of Utah)

  • The No.1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia Tech /NHTSA)

  • Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

  • 10% of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time.

  • Driving while distracted is a factor in 25% of police reported crashes.

  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

Please see the Governors Highway Safety Association to check your state cell phone driving laws.

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