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.
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.