Court Ruling Could Affect Laws On Texting And Driving

By Dennis Lambert
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 11:23am

A Tuesday court ruling could provide a new reason to think twice before you text while driving.

The practice is not illegal under state law, but is prohibited by some cities, including Phoenix. 

It came up in a criminal context when Roberto Salamanca was put on trial after a 2011 accident on State Route 66, in Flagstaff, that killed a motorist.

Attorney Kyle Green tried to keep prosecutors from telling jurors his client had sent an angry text to his girlfriend less than a minute before the crash. The appellate court however found that was relevant information. Green says that could set precedent.

“Any time that there's an automobile accident or something like that, I think that police are now going to be looking to see were there distractions to the driver right before the accident occurred,” Green said.

He says prosecutors argued Salamanca’s angry text caused his distracted driving. The ruling not only upheld Salamanca’s manslaughter conviction, but also his 22.5 year prison sentence.

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