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Swede charged for texting while driving

The Local · 29 Oct 2010, 11:57

Published: 29 Oct 2010 11:57 GMT+02:00

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On his unlucky Friday, August 13th, Eric Svensson of Falkenberg on Sweden's west coast had driven several friends to the pub. He was about to send a text while driving before he got into an accident.

"Everything happened very quickly. I crashed into a pole and suddenly I was stuck in the car on a sidewalk. My first thought was, 'No one was injured,' but it was the only the pole that was bumped and it is an inanimate object," Svensson told Göteborgs-Tidningen (GT) on Friday.

His car crashed into the pole and ran over a ditch before landing on the sidewalk. A couple with mental disabilities had disappeared in Falkenberg the day before, so the county's entire police force was in the area when Svensson crashed.

"There was a tremendous commotion. Four police cars came quickly. I had not expected that immediately," Svensson said.

Svensson will likely be the first in Sweden to be prosecuted for sending text messages while driving. According to prosecutor Kajsa Johansson, who charged Svensson at Varberg district court, he failed to comply with care and caution when he sent and read text messages while driving.

"I think it would be good to forbid drivers from sending and receiving text messages while driving. At the same time, it will probably be very difficult to check up on it," said Svensson.

Story continues below…

Svensson has retained his right to drive, but is far more cautious on the road now following his mishap.

"I have GPS on my mobile phone as well, but since the accident, I stop every time I read an instruction about where I am going. The fact is, I do not send so many text messages a day, maybe five. However, I do not think I am alone in texting when I drive," said Svensson.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:32 October 29, 2010 by JulieLou40
Sweden is now the only country in Europe where it is still legal to use your mobile while driving. This man's case just illistrates why there needs to be a blanket ban on use of mobiles whilst driving here, not just pussyfooting around when someone finally causes an accident.

Why is he still allowed to be on the road??
13:39 October 29, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
Rejoice! Well almost. You have to wait until an accident happens until they press charges. Its like saying that everyone can fire their guns into the air on New Years Eve, but they'll only prosecute if there' s a death.
14:10 October 29, 2010 by Krystalkid
80% percent of all rear end collisions (the most frequent vehicle accident) are caused by driver distractions. I doubt if we'll ever stop the madness so I got one of these from sparebumper.com - to reduce whiplash and protect my family.
15:07 October 29, 2010 by Strongbow
It is completely unnecessary and wrong to add a law that doesn't extend the current law but only bans one distraction. Probably passenger conversations, car stereo fiddling or kids in the rear seat cause more accidents. But it is all covered in the reckless driving paragraph "care and caution" as this is proof of.
15:26 October 29, 2010 by eppie

Well when I last checked also Moldavia (or was it Azerbidjan) also still allows using your phone while driving. :)

Anyway, sweden is not a country where you want to allow using a phone in the car. Simpley because swedes are very bad drivers and most of the times have a too big car for a person with their capabilities.

MAybe when they ban using a phone in the car in sweden the swedish car drivers finally have time to look in their rear view and side mirrors and a hand free to actually use the handle to put on the turn signals.
15:53 October 29, 2010 by JulieLou40
@ eppie: Moldova isn't in the EU....

16:19 October 29, 2010 by eppie

1st it was a joke, to show that there is another country that also still allows calling while driving, and that country being one of the worse off countries. That is why I wrote the :) sign

2nd Moldova is indeed not in the EU but it is in europe....and that is what you wrote.
17:44 October 29, 2010 by bbryan29
well how can he be charged for reckless driving if in fact theres no law in sweden that saids you cant text while driving, in order for this to stick, first they would need to make it illegal to do so,


american in love with sweden

19:16 October 29, 2010 by ErikWood
Business people need to 'hit the ball over the net'. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. Anyone can win an argument in a forum like this by saying "Just put the phone away" - but we can see its just not happening.

I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

Erik Wood, owner


19:43 October 29, 2010 by VoiceAssist
There are 330,000 accidents and 6,000 deaths that occur annually primarily from drivers distracted by their mobile phone, which is equivalent to a major airliner going down every week.

We have the hands-free solution that allows drivers to call, email, text or post by voice command from any phone.

Our solution helps drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road for maximum safety and productivity.

Please try it for free at www.VoiceAssist.com.


Chris Butchko


20:22 October 29, 2010 by Mb 65
The fact that he crashed shows that he was driving reckless. Any one with a bit of common sense knows it is reckless. He is asking how will they prove he was texting easy, time of texting time of crash. why is he saying that he will not text or look at his sat nav again while driving if he wasn't. I hope they take his license away for at least 2 years, perhaps that will drive some sense in those other idiots that use mobile phones while driving.
20:40 October 29, 2010 by Mike #1986
I don't get the phenomena with text messaging bloody tight little f´´´ks who even has the time to text sh´t I couldn't even be bothered taking the bloody time to even do it let alone while driving.

Got to be desperate to text and drive i reckon.
22:06 October 29, 2010 by Sam1
One should not use mobile while driving...Its totally wrong...
23:18 October 29, 2010 by Garry Jones
All anyone has to do is to watch this.

www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=8I54mlK0kVw

This has a great effect on teenage kids, sometimes they need to see something like this rather than reading that someone has hit a pole.

In my mind anyone who texts whilst driving should be sent to prison for ten years for attempted murder.
10:44 October 30, 2010 by Tall swede
Recklessness is forbidden, and thereby doing stuff that causes you to crash. People who need a "no texting while driving" law are the same people who needs stickers like "do not put fork in your eye, may cause blindness". Welcome to a country where texting is not forbidden, but recklessness is. And bestiality is not, but cruelty to animals is. You dont need a law for everything if you just think. And if you still want laws for everything, here is a tip: Do not hit yourself with rocks you find everywhere, it hurts. Just to be on the safe side, you obviously need someone to tell you stuff like that.
18:30 October 30, 2010 by Toonie
How dare anyone say that a Pole is an inanimate object. I find it hard to believe that Sweden, of all countries, hasn't made everything from phoning to farting illegal whilst driving. It's illegal in the UK, of course, but people still do stupid things. Like the guy stopped recently for driving across several roundabouts while eating a Chinese takeaway. With chopsticks or not, I'm not sure.
20:12 October 30, 2010 by Rizwan Rahim
Wah wah wah.....@ voice assist, 1)the stats u provided is based on Swedish experience ? if so whats the source ? 2)seems ur well constructed to suit a business plan !.... 3)did u construct ? i mean the incident ..... 4)"Our solution helps drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road" can u brings down the 330,000 figure to 1% if all drivers apply ur method ? 5)does this operation tangible in Sweden ?...i mean ur office ?

but i agree with most of the comments to abolish the "mobile syndrome" while driving.
01:04 October 31, 2010 by Toonie
Good points @ Rizwan Rahim.

I've seen UK research that shows hands-free can distract drivers too. The driving experience can distract the driver from speaking fluently, and the concentration used for listening and responding can reduce quick eye/hand/foot reactions.

Best new safety device (as yet untested) is reckoned to be metal spike fitted below steering wheel and aimed at driver's groin.
10:29 November 1, 2010 by Alf Garnett
About time too, last week I watched a women applying mascara whislt driving her car, starting on the E18 & turning off on to Surahammarsvägen in västerås, what a moron.

There should be a minimum 5k sek fine for using a mobile whilst trying to drive.

Wonder if the goverment could make sure that indicators are installed on all swedish cars, there seems to be 1000's of vehicles without them
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