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At age 19, Reggie Shaw was texting while driving and killed two men in Utah.
“I texted all the time when I drove. It’s something I did almost every time I got behind the wheel,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “I thought that it was ok.”
Shaw went to jail for 30 days, and did community service. He also spoke to Utah lawmakers, to get them to pass one of the toughest laws against texting and driving in the country.
“I explained to them that this is a serious problem, that this is as dangerous as anything that you can do behind the wheel,” he said. “A law is going to prevent families from losing their loved ones. People don’t have to go through what I’ve put people through.”
Under Utah’s new law, offenders face up to 15 years in prison.
The new law…penalizes a texting driver who causes a fatality as harshly as a drunken driver who kills someone. In effect, a crash caused by such a multitasking motorist is no longer considered an “accident” like one caused by a driver who, say, runs into another car because he nodded off at the wheel. Instead, such a crash would now be considered inherently reckless.