The Current

'A Deadly Wandering': How texting & driving killed two scientists

To this day, Reggie Shaw can't forget the day his car slid across the yellow line, and into another. At just 19 years old, he had caused an accident that killed two people. Today we rebroadcast the story of how a single text message became a death sentence.
Eight years ago, texting was so new the police didn't even know to ask about it. Now some neurologists have weighed in and say texting and driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving. (Paul Oka/Flickr cc)

"All I can think about is their families. Those two men. While I was driving I decided that  texting  and driving was more important to me than those two men were to their families. And how selfish that was of me to make that decision to text and drive."  - Reggie Shaw

Reggie Shaw's story is featured in Werner Herzog's documentary "From One Second to the Next."

At age 19, Mr. Shaw was not unlike a lot of drivers who hit the road on the weekend to take advantage of the summer weather. He had a cellphone, and sometimes used it behind the wheel.

Eight years ago, one of those few moments of inattention ended in tragedy for Mr. Shaw, and threw the  lives of those around him in chaos. His story is the subject of Matt Richtel's book, "A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention". 

Matt Richtel is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times. And Robert Mann is a senior scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health -- CAMH. They both spoke to Anna Maria Tremonti last September. 

Since this story first aired Ontario has brought in a tough new law on texting and driving.  Drivers caught texting in that province will face fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 as well as three demerit points.  

But the stiffest penalties for texting and driving can be found in Manitoba. New legislation that came into effect this week hammers distracted drivers with five demerit points and a $200 fine. Those new rules will especially sting for drivers who already have between 10 and 15 demerit points. They could be forced to pay up to 32-hundred dollars, depending on their record. 

Let us know what you think.Should texting drivers be hit harder in the wallet? Do you ever text and drive?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

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