Message circulating on Facebook that features a photograph of a fatal accident in which a red car is wedged under a large truck claims that the accident occurred because the driver was texting. The message asks people to share if they are against texting and driving.
The picture shows a real accident, but there is no evidence that supports the claim that the accident was a result of texting while driving. The accident took place in Westchester County New York back in July 2005. The driver died at the scene.
They found his cell phone still in his hand – he was texting – his head was in the back seat. PLEASE don’t text while driving. Share this if your against Texting & Driving……..
This message, which features a photograph of a horrific and obviously fatal car accident scene in which a red Corvette is jammed solidly under a large truck, has been extensively shared via Facebook and other social media outlets for several years.
The message suggests that the accident occurred because the driver was texting on his cell phone and therefore not concentrating. It asks users to share the picture if they are against texting while driving.
The photograph shows a real accident and sadly, the driver indeed died at the scene. However, the accident was not recent and there is no evidence to support the claim that it occurred because the driver was texting on his cell phone. The accident took place back in July 2005 in Westchester County New York. A July 29, 2005, report in The Record, Bergen County, noted:
FRANKLIN LAKES – A Westchester County man died Thursday afternoon in a crash on Route 287.Joseph Gianelli, 58 of Irvington, N.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene after his Chevrolet Corvette struck the rear of a tractor-trailer at about 1 p.m., near milepost 65, state police said.
The truck, operated by Clouis Oquinn Jr., 52, of Virginia, was parked on a northbound shoulder when the Corvette plowed into it. Oquinn was not injured, officials said. The crash was under investigation Thursday evening.
The news article makes no mention of cell phone use as a causative factor. And the message does not provide any credible sources that confirm the claims that cell phone use was involved. Moreover, the photograph has circulated widely in the past with messages that make no mention of texting as a possible cause of the accident.
Certainly, texting while driving is very dangerous and has been responsible for serious traffic accidents. In fact, because of its inherent dangers, mobile phone use while driving has now been officially banned in a number of jurisdictions.
However, using a photograph of a fatal accident that may not have any connection to texting use at all is inappropriate. The message makes unfair and unsubstantiated assumptions about the cause of the accident. The circulation of the photograph is disrespectful to the deceased driver and, given that the victim is partially visible, could also be very distressing for his family.
Another message featuring long circulated photographs of a motorcycle wedged inside a Volkswagen also make the unsubstantiated claim that the accident was caused by a driver using a cell phone.
Raising awareness of the dangers of using cell phones while driving is good. But embellishing such warnings with photographs of fatal accidents that were not caused by cell phone use at all is counterproductive and unethical.