La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- An Independence man is facing homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle, after striking and killing an 86-year-old woman in a cross walk.
According to the criminal complaint, the man was texting just minutes before the crash.. One of the texts read "I'll call ya.. Drivin a nd textin not workin so good."
It's tragic reminder about the dangers of texting and driving.
"I think it's more common than a person speeding," said La Crosse County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Amundsen. "A lot of times people set their cruise control so they're not speeding, well then they'll reach down check their text message and send one back and forth."
But if you're caught sending or receiving texts it's a hefty $188 dollar fine.
"It actually falls under the inattentive driver statute in Wisconsin," Amundsen said. "A lot of accidents are caused by people just not paying attention."
Texting and driving makes a crash 23 times more likely according to textinganddrivingsafety.com. And Amundsen says it's not just messaging but social media use that can result in a citation and four points on your license.
"It calls under receiving or sending electronic messages so if you're updating your status, that's going to be an issue as well," Amundsen said.
And if you have a probationary license, it's not just texting and driving that's illegal, you cannot talk on the phone.
"It's about $166 dollar fine and an automatic six month extension on that graduated driver's license," Amundsen said.
Amundsen says even if you're stopped at a red-light you're still operating a vehicle and can be ticketed. He says silence your phone or set an automatic response so people know you're driving and will answer when you reach your destination.
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