We have shared numerous stories in this space about the dangers of distracted driving. The stereotypical example is someone who is using their phone to send a text message when they are supposed to be paying attention to the road. But texting is not the only distraction that can lead to an accident.
You may remember the fatal UC San Francisco shuttle bus crash last summer. In that crash, a shuttle bus collided with a semi truck after running a red light. One of the passengers on that bus was ejected from the vehicle and killed. It now appears that the shuttle bus driver may have been chatting rather than paying attention to traffic. The driver has been criminally charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that witnesses have said that the driver was actually engaged in a conversation with the same passenger that lost his life in the crash. When the shuttle bus ran the red light the semi reportedly attempted to stop and avoid the crash but was unable to avoid the collision.
Distractions can come in many different shapes and sizes. In addition to electronic devices, dashboard, equipment, and other passengers that may cause distractions inside a vehicle, circumstances outside of the vehicle can take a drivers attention off the road. It is not unusual to hear about an accident on a California highway that was caused by a driver whose attention was diverted because he was looking at the wreckage of another accident.
Source: San Francisco Examiner, "Chat might have doomed victim of UCSF shuttle bus crash," Will Reisman, Jan. 19, 2012