Death By Texting: Michigan Man Gets Just 30 Days for Killing Grandmother

A Lapeer, Mich., man who police say caused a fatal crash while texting and driving has been sentenced to just one month in jail and 12 months of probation. It was the first case of its kind since the state passed a ban on texting while driving last August.

Some lawmakers say the penalties under texting-while-driving laws aren’t harsh enough, and need to be changed. 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.

Awareness of the dangers of texting-while-driving seem to be climbing, yet full appreciation of the problem has a long way to go. While most drivers see the moral hazard of driving while intoxicated, too few still think that checking email or answering a text while operating a motor vehicle falls into the same category.

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.

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