Crossing Center Cited in Noble County Fatality Accident

Oklahoma Highway Patrol has cited crossing the center line as the cause of a head-on fatality car accident that occurred Saturday night.  According to reports, Jessica Balman was heading south on U.S 177 when her car crossed the center line and struck a pickup driven by Karen Quinn.

Troopers reported that both drivers were wearing seat belts. The drivers were pinned for more than an hour before being freed by Perry firefighters.  The two women were pronounced at the scene.  A third person, passenger Rosetta Nelson, was airlifted to Oklahoma City with multiple injuries.

The report did not identify a contributing cause of the accident that might have led Balman to cross left of center, but distracted driving is often cited in head-on collisions.

Distracted driving is a violation of Oklahoma law.  How a person is distracted is not generally relevant to the fact that the driver allowed herself to become distracted in the first instance.  The failure to devote the full attention necessary for the safe operation of a vehicle can result in both criminal a civil liability for the distracted driver who causes a car accident.

As the present case demonstrates, distracted driving can have devastating consequences, up to and including death or great bodily injury– regardless of seat belt use or non-use.  One primary contributor to distracted driving is the rise in text messaging and the use of smart phones.  It is unknown whether texting-while-driving contributed to this car accident, but the facts are consistent with other circumstances where texting-and-driving caused a fatality car accident.

Under Oklahoma law, texting-while-driving is not specifically prohibited by any particular law, however, as mentioned above, a person or driver who causes an accident while texting-and-driving can still face charges under the more general statute outlawing distracted driving.

If texting-while-driving is a suspected cause of an accident, action should be taken quickly to ensure that relevant information and data from the cell carrier is preserved.  This information is critical to establishing causation between the car accident and the use of a cell phone.  Retaining an experienced attorney  who knows how to preserve this evidence is vital to maintaining a successful claim for the victim.

If you have questions about car accidents caused by texting-and-driving, contact the attorneys at Bryan and Terrill at (918) 935-2777.