Dash cam video shows deadly side of distracted driving
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Distracted driving can be deadly for anyone behind the wheel.
Newly released dashboard camera video shows what's the worst that can happen when someone driving an 18-wheeler isn't paying attention to the road.
"That is terrible" and "just outrageous" are two responses 9 On Your Side got after playing the video for truck drivers stopped at the Triple T Truck Stop near I-10 and Craycroft Road.
The video obtained by ABC News shows 33-year-old Jorge Espinoza breaking a law for truck drivers everywhere.
"If you use a cell phone, it has to be a totally hands free device," said Paul Conley, an instructor at the HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson.
Investigators say Espinoza was browsing provocative photos of women on Facebook as his empty fuel tanker barrelled over emergency vehicles stopped at an accident on Interstate 8 near Yuma. The May 6 crash killed DPS officer Tim Huffman.
"It would appear he knew he was doing something wrong," Conley said as he watched the video.
Police say Espinoza purposefully placed his wallet to block the dash cam. But after impact, you can can see his white smart phone fly out of frame.
Espinoza originally told police he was distracted by looking away at a passing truck.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Arizona is one of nine states without a ban on texting while driving, something State Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) continues to fight for in Phoenix.
"Just don't do it because you are just as incapacitated as when you are drinking and driving when you're using the Internet and driving," Farley said.
Truck drivers 9 On Your Side spoke to at a Triple T truck stop say they see this behavior all the time.
"There's truckers out here using their phones, got them up to their ears, texting, watching TV," said truck driver Mike Solley. "It's a common thing now."
"They're not using their headsets," truck driver Tommy Moore said.
Espinoza has pled not guilty to 20 felony charges, including 2nd degree murder.