Michael Annett, a NASCAR racer, was charged with driving while impaired, texting while driving and failure to reduce speed after he allegedly caused a collision in Mooresville, NC on February 6, 2011 around 1:30 a.m.
According to the police reports, Mr. Annett rear-ended a vehicle that was waiting at the intersection of NC 150 and Williamson Road. He admitted to texting as he approached the intersection, which contributed to his failure to reduce speed. Officers on the scene had Mr. Annett take a breathalyzer test. The report states that his BAC—blood alcohol content—was .32, well beyond the legal limit in NC of .08. Mr. Annett clearly jeopardized his own life in addition to the lives of his passenger and others on the road that night.
Mr. Annett drives for Rusty Wallace Racing in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series. His NC driver license has temporarily been suspended, but that will not necessarily affect his employment because NASCAR does not require a state-issued driver license to compete in races.
Still, NASCAR and Rusty Wallace racing officials are investigating the incident a considering the most appropriate penalties for Mr. Annett.
One possibility is that Mr. Annett might be compelled to complete one year of community service. Perhaps that could include efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. Mr. Annett could also use his celebrity and turn this negative experience into a positive by spreading the word about the risks involved with distracted driving.
At any rate, hopefully Mr. Annett has learned a valuable lesson about drinking and driving and driving while texting in North Carolina.