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State Police: Driver was looking at his phone when he slammed into a pedestrian on Day Boulevard, then kept on going

State Police report arresting a Dorchester man on charges he plowed into a woman walking across Day Boulevard near K Street in South Boston on Dec. 2, sending her to the hospital with serious injuries.

John Murphy, 64, was looking at his phone when he hit the woman around 7:15 a.m. with his 2005 Lincoln Town Car. In addition to causing his victim injuries, Murphy damaged his car, according to State Police, who say that after the crash, Murphy rented a car after bringing his to a local shop to have his damaged driver's side side-view mirror replaced.

Murphy was scheduled for arraignment this afternoon in South Boston Municipal Court on charges of operating to endanger, leaving the scene of a crash causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, operating after suspension, operating while texting, tampering with evidence and a crosswalk violation, State Police say.

Last month, Gov. Baker signed a bill to prohibit drivers from using handheld electronic devices behind the wheel. It goes into effect in February.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Throw it at him.

No wrist slaps. Clear criminal intent. Evidence tampering. Certainly not an "accident."

(I wonder where he'll be doing his community service.)

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Voting closed 72

Ban from driving for life

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Voting closed 12

his license was already suspended.

He left a woman with serious bodily injury. He should be made to send that lady a substantial check every month.

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Voting closed 5

Only a sociopath would be looking at a phone while driving 2 ton vehicle. The public must be protected from these people.

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Voting closed 49

You don't even know it.
A couple months back I was in slow-moving traffic near an intersection - so, wait 5 minutes, then you're off on your way, not like you're stuck there forever. A lady next to me has her cell phone mounted IN THE MIDDLE of her steering wheel (you know, where the air bag deploys), watching some freaking show. Watching a show while driving! So here I am, going "WTF!" when 3 cars further I see the SAME EXACT thing happening in a different car! I just felt deflated at that point, like "nope, we can't win". Going through the traffic light I saw someone driving while holding up their phone to the steering wheel and that just didn't faze me.
OK, so we finally have a law against phone use here, but who the heck is going to enforce it? And are they going to start punishing red-light runners too?

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Voting closed 45

Yes, there are behaviors that should not be allowed, like driving under the influence and yes driving while distracted, but saying that those who are looking at their phones are psychopaths is a huge stretch. Should be punished? Yes, definitely, but your armchair diagnosis does not follow.

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It fits to a T -- people who are driving while looking at their phone (a totally unnecessary lethal behavior) are showing an inexplicable disregard for their fellow humans.

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Voting closed 37

They must have low self esteem.

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People look at their phones while they are driving because it is a behavior they engage in while not driving. They are not intending to do anything wrong.

Are alcoholics and drug addicts also sociopaths?

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Voting closed 5

That's just a silly way to spin your argument.

Habitual drunk drivers, on the other hand, are pretty damn close to being sociopathic.

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And better than I did.

Yes, sociopaths could run someone down while checking their phone and drive off without caring, but that doesn’t mean everyone who checks their phone while driving is a sociopath. This guy might be a sociopath, but some teenage girl who wraps her car around a tree while checking Instagram or whatever they do today probably isn’t.

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It is a lack of respect for the difficulty of driving. Why don't we see a failure to pay strict attention to the task as a failure of basic empathy? A person can still make mistakes with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. Why minimize the moral failing? Wouldn't save "some teenage girl", if we defined this behavior as complete disregard for the welfare of other human beings?

If you analyze the limited amount of this person's behavior that we have in this article, it is very consistent with the medical diagnosis. It is obviously not enough to diagnose anyone as a sociopath, but it is a valid point about the lack of empathy for human life that this driver shows.

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Voting closed 6

And in this particular case, an expert in psychology (not me) might conclude that the guy may be a psychopath, but the original claim is that anyone who glances at their phone while driving must be a sociopath, hence my disagreement with the characterization.

My wife once had an issue with me not returning her calls. I knew she was driving and had no hands free device. I also know her views on use of mobile phones while driving, since her brother was forced into early retirement after getting rear ended by someone texting (and this was so long ago that other than talking, it was the only thing you could do with a mobile). The practice is dangerous, but I’m not willing to say that those who do it are evil.

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But consider if calling it evil would save lives? Equivocating this behavior is why nothing gets better.

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Not all people who check their phones while driving are sociopaths. Same as drunk drivers. Should they be punished for what they do, especially if a life is taken? Yes, but there is a difference between law, morality, and psychology.

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when not driving I like to cook, watch tv and play card games, and therefore it is reasonable for me to expect I can do those things while driving.

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Voting closed 8

Except I like whiskey

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Voting closed 5

The right question is why aren't more people hysterical about avoidable deaths and injuries to pedestrians. It seems that most of America has an inexplicable disregard for their fellow humans. Rather than tone policing someone's vocabulary, why not wonder when we are going to invest in video enforcement? New laws aren't much good without giving police a way to enforce them and better infrastructure.

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Obviously the driver's fault. This is why i look both ways while crossing too. You can't rely on people 100%

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Too many people think they're invincible when in a crosswalk. I always assume oncoming traffic either isn't paying attention or is having a medical issue and won't be able to stop. If there's one or two vehicles coming and then nothing behind them, I wait.

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Voting closed 9

Currently, there's no way to stop people with suspended licenses from driving. There needs to be a way to keep this from constantly happening.

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It is called Putting People In Jail.

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If only we had some way to physically segregate those people who engage in dangerous anti-social behavior. I'll continue to brainstorm.

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How about some way to physically separate people driving dangerous vehicles from the rest of us? Nah, that'd be crazy talk.

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there's always jail. But if you're talking about someone who's out there in the world, how are you going to restrain them from getting into a car? There isn't a urine test to determine if someone's been driving or not.

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Voting closed 5

It's hard to stop someone from using a friend's car or stealing one. But for renting there should be a way (if there isn't already) for the rental agencies to quickly verify if a license is valid or not.

It need not disclose any personal info, just a active/not-active message.

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Voting closed 12

They run your license and don't give you a car if the license isn't valid.

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car rental companies are protected from vicarious liability by the Graves Amendment. if they have access to driving records then it's easy to prove that they knowingly provided a car to a dangerous driver. if they have no knowledge then they're not being negligent just ignorant.

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when he went to rent, the license is valid.

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.... suspended license at the time of the crash. The info would have n available to the rental agency.

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Not in this state, but trying to rent a car at the airport in PDX. It might vary state to state what rental companies are allowed to see, but this place did check for a valid license.

They did allow him to transfer the reservation to his wife, who did have a valid license, but it was interesting to see what they were able to find.

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Voting closed 3

It isn't just young people staring at phones and killing people - it's boomers in old man sedans.

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Voting closed 28

Another case of gadgetry over humanity !

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I used to see guys (almost always guys) driving with a book or newspaper propped up on the steering wheel, reading. They would usually be lagging way behind traffic, so they wouldn't have to look up as often (or so they thought). I don't see that any more; now there are a lot more people holding their phones up.

Hey phone-holders! Get one of those phone mounts for your car! The magnetic ones that attach to the air vents work pretty well. That's if you're going to use it to navigate. If you want to use it for anything else -- don't. just don't.

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were the ones doing their makeup in the rear-view mirror, that way they couldn't see behind them either.
Guys with newspapers, ladies with makeup. Really says something huh?

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moving violation and an automatic standard of fault in an accident.

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Voting closed 35

a felony

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injury or death, yes.

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If some guy is recklessly firing bullets down Day Blvd, you're okay with criminalizing that, right?
Why is it any less criminal to accelerate a larger piece of metal to lethal speeds without paying full attention to where the metal is going?

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Voting closed 26

He should not be released pre trial.

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Voting closed 14

Automatic life if the person dies.

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Baker and the legislature need to take phone distracted driving seriously. The new law is a$100 fine. That's crazy low for something shown to be as distracting as driving drunk. Which i know MA doesn't take very seriously unless someone is killed or you hit a cop, but at least it's occasionally taken seriously.

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Voting closed 11

When I walk in the crosswalk I assume the driver isn’t stopping until I see them decelerate.

It’s saved me twice in the last 6 months. One was a crosswalk immediately next to a hospital where frail people cross. I screamed once at the driver and a lady walking her dog got pissed at ME, saying I made her nervous. Then everyone applauded...

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Voting closed 17

Spring day, so windows down in the car, busy sidewalks in Back Bay. Some person on a phone blows a light or something egregious. I chase them down on a bike and say very loudly: "if you can't drive and talk on the phone at the same time, choose one or the other." Got applause from several bystanders nearby.

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Voting closed 10

I see drivers looking at their phones instead of the road all day and every day. They blow through stop signs and crosswalks because they don't give a F about anyone else but themselves.

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This 61sevener thinks we should just neuter all the republicans. According to conventional wisdom they are the cause of all bad things. Hashtag sarcasm.

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i cross at this street frequently and it's dangerous. there are marked crosswalks but if you're not paying attention you could easily get hit. especially when you get to Day Blvd.

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Without doubt what happened is horrible. I'm sorry for everyone involved, driver included.

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Why are you sorry for the driver? Isn't this whole thing 100% his fault, doing something he knew was dangerous and illegal, actually hurting something, then fleeing and trying to cover it up?
Isn't this a prime example of how NOT to act?

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Phone companies can design phones that dont work at velocity, but they dont.

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As someone who more frequently rides the T or bus than drives, and enjoys looking at a phone, I'm not sure I'm interested in that plan. Maybe if there's some way to ensure that you're a passenger and not a driver? Otherwise, I'd vote for "let's try and limit the amount of interactions between drivers in personal cars and other people", whatever that takes.

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Voting closed 3