Their texting was the modern equivalent of sweet nothings in a lover’s ear. Except that, on January 18, Emy Brochu was behind the wheel of a car while she was typing.
“I love you too and I will do all I can to make you happy,” she texted her boyfriend, Mathieu Fortin. Moments later, her car slammed into the back of a truck in Victoriaville, Quebec. She died.
Now Mr. Fortin has put the entire text conversation on Facebook, as a reminder to drivers to resist the urge to use their phones.
It is a poignant read: Mr. Fortin replies quickly to Ms. Brochu’s last message: “Me too, bb,” following up with xxxx, representing kisses. He can’t wait, he texts, “to hear her beautiful voice.”
She doesn’t answer. A few hours later, as CTV Montreal reports, he sends another text: “Is everything going well, my love? I am a bit worried.”
Only later, does he realize that the accident occurred mere moments after her last text.
“An accident can happen quickly,” he writes on the Facebook page. “I hope every time you look at your cell phone while you’re driving, you think of Emy and those who loved her.”
Using a cell phone, including texting, while driving is banned in every Canadian province. Newfoundland was the first to bring in the law in 2002, and New Brunswick the last one to do so in 2011. Fines range from about $80 to nearly $300, with additional demerit points.
But even knowing the dangers, drivers continue to text away on their phones, thinking they can still keep an eye on the road. (And many of us keep chatting with them while they drive.)
In San Francisco this week, a 23-year-old woman was sentenced to five years in jail for killing a man in a crash that occurred while she was texting. RMCP in British Columbia reported this month that drivers continue to freely text and chat behind the wheel – during a blitz this past February, police say they gave out twice as many tickets as the same month the previous year.
On the one hand, it seems so easy: Just turn off the phone. (Or stuff it out of reach in the trunk where you won’t be tempted.) As Mr. Fortin asks: “At what time is a text or an e-mail more important than life itself? At what point is something on your phone more important than the people that you love?”
What will make drivers stop using their phone or texting while behind the wheel? Tougher fines? Lost licenses? Seized cell phones? Do you take phone calls and respond to texts when you know the person on the other end is driving?