| Added On August 30, 2011
A fatal crash abruptly closed busy Highway 12 in both directions on Monday morning. The crash occurred near the county line separating Solano and Napa counties. California Highway Patrol was on scene almost immediately to investigate the crash. Currently-released details reveal that around 10:35 yesterday morning, a green Ford Taurus inexplicably crossed over the center line separating the east-bound and west-bound lanes. The car crossed into the path of a flatbed big rig hauling a construction bulldozer weighing between 30,000 and 40,000 pounds.
Both drivers then lost control of their vehicles while lead to a third vehicle, a Toyota Sienna, colliding with the Taurus in a t-bone position. A Toyota Prius then slammed into the flatbed as it careened across the highway.
The driver of the Taurus was pronounced dead at the scene. He has yet to be identified and CHP can reveal that the driver was a male in his 50′s. The Toyota Sienna was carrying six passengers, all of which were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the Toyota Prius was also taken to the hospital reporting aches and pains. The driver of the flatbed truck escaped the incident uninjured.
Highway 12 was closed in both directions from the time of the accident until nearly 5pm. CHP’s major accident team was on scene the majority of the day taking measurements and investigating the likely cause of the crash. Investigators have not ruled out drugs, alcohol or distracted driving as of yet.
Distracted driving accounts for a significant number of traffic injuries and fatalities across California’s roadways. As cellular phones began to grow in popularity, law enforcement began to see a dramatic increase in traffic accidents caused by drivers talking on the phone. The California legislature outlawed the use of handheld devices on July 1, 2008 making it a crime to drive while holding a cell phone. The legislature quickly surmised that text messaging and driving is also a significant problem and banned texting and driving effective January 1, 2009.
Studies have likened the effects of texting and driving to the impairment caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Texting and driving is a significant problem among younger drivers, particularly teenagers, who do not possess the experience and driving prowess commiserate with the skill set necessary to perform multiple tasks at once while behind the wheel. In a 2006 study of 900 teenage drivers, 46% admitted to texting while driving and 37% reported being extremely distracted while doing so.