Investigators say a driver killed in a two-vehicle accident in Navasota Tuesday morning was texting while driving and using his laptop computer.
"He was on the computer and texting and doing stuff on the palm pilot at the time of the crash,” said Trooper Kenneth Balzekas with DPS. “It was smashed between him and the steering wheel and was still on with partial messaging. He was looking down. That would explain why he never hit the brakes and never steered."
Investigators say the 55-year-old driver, from Katy, slammed into the back of a stopped 18-wheeler. He died on impact.
"Texting while driving, doing stuff like that is almost the same if not worse as an intoxicated motorist,” said Balzekas.
Investigators say his story is all too common. Last year TxDOT reported 361 fatal accidents across the state due to texting while driving.
"You are moving in a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds, and you are moving at hundreds of feet per second, and one little distraction could cost your life,” Balzekas said.
Christine Yager is with the Texas A&M- based Texas Transportation Institute that tackles transportation problems through research.
"It’s a shame to hear that sometimes people choose to participate in something that is distracting, and when it costs their life,” said Yager.
She says in her recent study, one in four drivers on our roads operate their vehicle while being distracted.
Yager says to be safe, she personally never uses any electronic device while driving to prevent tragedies like this from crossing her path.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was taken to a hospital in Navasota with neck pain.