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A man in Michigan caused an accident that killed someone. He was found guilty, but was only sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Why? Because the accident happened while the man was texting and it was the first case of its kind since the state of Michigan passed a ban on texting while driving last August.
Forty-one-year old Jerry Joseph pleaded guilty in April to a moving violation causing the death last November of 78-year-old Irene Paquin of Attica Township, Mich. Paquin, a grandmother, was the passenger in the car driven by her 81-year-old husband Paul. The Paquins were broadsided by Joseph's car.
Phone records obtained by the police revealed that Joseph was texting seconds before the impact.
Penalties for drunk drivers who cause a fatality are much harsher -- some states include a four-year minimum prison sentence and a permanent driver's license suspension.
Despite plenty of academic research demonstrating that texting while driving can be just as dangerous, or more so, as drinking and driving, a recent poll shows that most teens simply don't think that's the case. State Farm sponsored a poll conducted by Harris Interactive last Fall in which 14- to 17-year-olds were asked whether they thought they would die one day if they regularly text and drive. Only 35 percent strongly agreed with that statement. Meantime, 55 percent of teens think that drinking and driving could prove deadly.
Do you agree with the sentence handed down to the Michigan man? Should the penalties be the same for texting while driving and drinking while driving? Or is there a difference?
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