Massachusetts police release harrowing footage of texting-and-driving crash

Authorities in Berlin, Mass., released footage depicting the harrowing moment a distracted driver crashed into a pole.

"This is video footage of a motor vehicle crash we responded to on July 23rd of this year," the Berlin Police Department wrote Monday on Facebook.

In the dashcam footage, which was recorded by the driver of the car behind the doomed vehicle, a small sedan can be seen steadily drifting off a two-way road until it comes into contact with a telephone pole.

The pole then snaps in half as the car dramatically flips over and skids to a rest on its hood. The driver recording the incident then swerves off the road to avoid colliding with the crashed vehicle.

Thankfully, the operators of both vehicles only received minor injuries. Police say the distracted driver was also issued a citation for texting while driving.

"We want to remind everyone about the serious outcomes that can result from texting and driving, being distracted by any other means, or impairment from drugs or alcohol," Berlin authorities wrote on Facebook. "Please use this as a self reminder, or to show your family & friends. The text, email, Facebook, Snapchat Message can wait — it is not worth your life or the life of another person."

Distracted driving, defined as engaging in any activity that diverts one's attention from the road, such as texting, is dangerous and often proves deadly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Texting while behind the wheel is one of the most alarming forms of distracted driving, according to the agency. It compares the act of taking one's eyes off the road for just five seconds to send or read a message while driving at approximately 55 mph with driving the length of an entire football field with one's eyes closed.

The behavior claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone, the administration reports.

To combat the epidemic, Massachusetts enacted the Safe Driving Law in 2010, which bans texting while driving and bans drivers under the age of 18 from operating a vehicle while using any electronic device, even in "hands-free" mode.

Violators may face steep fines, ranging from $100 to $500, and lengthy license suspensions.