"Every single time you take your eyes off the road or talk on the phone while you're driving - even for just a few seconds - you put yourself and others in danger." -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHoodmore>>
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New Orleans, La. -- A six-year-old boy is killed just steps from his home in Denham Springs. Authorities in Livingston Parish have now booked a driver with negligent homicide in the child's death.
Distracted driving is a growing public safety concern, and for many the warnings come too late.
Tyler Myers died on September 24. "We just know he was riding his scooter," said Sheriff Jason Ard of the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. "We don't know if he may have fell down in his driveway."
According to the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, 32-year-old Brad Welch was on his phone when he pulled into that driveway and felt a bump. He vehicle had hit the child and killed him. Welch is now booked with negligent homicide in the child's death.
"If that distraction led to the crash, then absolutely that person can be charged," said Melissa Matey with the Louisiana State Police.
Matey says distractions behind the wheel come in many forms, including "GPS devices, texting, radios, IPODs, passengers, food."
She says all of those distractions can lead to disaster in an instant. "Crashes are extremely violent and they happen within fractions of a second," Matey told us.
The combination of driving and distractions has become such a big problem on America's roadways that the U.S. Government has developed a web site devoted entirely to distracted driving and the consequences.
Distraction.govfeatures the faces of distracted driving. The stories include a five-year-old boy who was paralyzed after a woman who was texting and driving ran a stop sign.
"I've been told that the text was, 'I'm on my way.' It wasn't that important,' said the child's mother from his bedside.
It also includes the story of a 17-year-old girl who refused to listen to her mom about the dangers of texting and driving.
"She believed me in so many things and she did what I told her to do when she was growing up," said her mother. "But this one thing, we couldn't get her to quit."
Attorney John Redmann represents victims of distracted driving. "I don't care what you were texting about. I care if you were texting at the time of the accident," said Redmann. "In the instances where it's a real debate about who is at fault, yes, we can subpoena the phone records."
So the next time a distraction tempts you behind the wheel, state police say remember this: "It's not worth it," said Trooper Matey. "It's not worth the distraction."
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Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
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