Corpus Christi police have been very busy handing out tickets for distracted driving. In fact, at just halfway through 2017 there have been more than 900 citations given to drivers for either texting or using their phone behind the wheel.
Arely Mathews will never forget the moment three years ago when she got a phone call nobody expects. In that moment of tragedy, her 18-year-old son A.J. Benavidez became part of that increasingly horrible statistic.
Mathews said she will never really heal from the loss of her oldest child, never fully understanding why she warned him about other dangers, but never about distracted driving.
"He was going 70 miles per hour when he didn't see the truck in front of him was at a complete stop," Mathews said. "There were no skid marks. Witnesses didn't see him hit the brakes or anything."
In 2013, the City passed an ordinance making it unlawful to drive while texting or using a cellphone, with fines as high as $500. This year, State lawmakers passed legislation that will charge first-time offenders with a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $99.
Repeat offenders could pay up to $200 in fines.
The Mathews family hopes the new law will further discourage people from distracted driving.