Jury Awards $22 Million in Wrongful Death Case – Text Messaging
Last week, a Texas jury returned a $22 million dollar verdict against Jason Reed Vestal, a Texas A&M student who was found to have made seven phone calls and have sent or received fifteen (15) text messages in the 45 minutes before the accident which killed Megan Small. The victim, Small, age 21 was a senior at Baylor majoring in bio-chemistry and was near graduation. Vestal’s truck collided head-on with Small’s car on Highway 6.
This tragic case is the prime example of the dangers of texting while driving. In California, it is a vehicle code violation to use a cell phone without a hands-free device and texting or reading a text message is illegal. Texting while driving is still allowed in Texas, and the dangers are quite clear. It is the responsibility of the legislature of that state to take appropriate action to curb such practices. This verdict can be a good indication to the elected officials about how the community feels about this type of behavior.