I'm going to blame being out of the country in April for having missed this story in the Kenosha (Wisc.) News, about the wrist slap for a deadly distracted driver, although I have been watching the progress of the case of Devin Kunich, who was run down and killed back in August 2011.
Kunich's dad, Gary Kunich, has been campaigning for awareness about the impacts of distracted driving through his contacts with legislators and his motivation of his son's family and friends through his Facebook site, Devin Kunich will live forever in our hearts.
In my original post on this case, I wrote that the driver, 18-year-old Quashae Taylor, was blind in one eye, not wearing corrective lenses, talking on the cellphone, in foggy conditions, when she hit what she thought was a deer. Although she was charged with negligent homicide and faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, she pleaded no contest to a traffic ticket for inattentive driving and was fined $100.
According to the defence, the dead cyclist was wearing black, had alcohol in his system and was "probably listening to music." As is so often the case when the only witness to a crash that kills a cyclist is the motorist, the prosecution was unable to prove that the motorist was in the wrong. So infuriating.
Gary Kunich is still working to make people aware of the impacts of distracted driving, and loobying for change in the U.S. For instance, he is asking his group to respond to Tennessee Congresswoman Diane Black, who sought the removal from the recent U.S. federal transportation bill of incentives to state whcih strengthen laws against texting and cellphone use while driving. The Republican mantra is that this is federal government pushing states around. Kunich was trying, rightly, to point out that it's about better laws.