As attorneys who represent people seriously injured in car accidents in Ohio and families who lost loved ones, we advocate strongly for safety on the roads. Our work ultimately can make Ohio a safer place for everyone. That's why we want to send a loud and clear message to all drivers of cars, trucks, motorcycles as well as pedestrians that it's critical to stay alert. A second or two of inattention can have tragic consequences.
In fact, police recently told WFMJ-TV that fatal distracted driving accidents have become more common in recent years. In August 2015, two people in a car died after being rear-ended by a large truck on I-76 in Jackson Township, Ohio.
Police said the cause was under investigation, but warned that more and more accidents are traced back to drivers distracted by modern technology, especially smart phones. Truck accidents can be especially catastrophic, given the sheer size of big rigs.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, distraction is the second cause of deadly truck accidents, followed by driver fatigue. If you drive a vehicle at 55 mph and look at a text message for five seconds, you essentially have driven the length of a football field with your eyes shut.
Police Crack Down on Distracted Drivers in Ohio
In Ohio, police will ticket drivers for texting behind the wheel. In a crackdown on distracted driving earlier this summer, Ohio troopers ticketed more than 1,000 motorists, according to an article posted on Cleveland.com. If you text and drive in Ohio, you are breaking the law. Distracted driving laws are even tougher for drivers under 18, who are prohibited from all cell phone use while driving.
Drivers who would never get behind the wheel after drinking might think nothing of looking at a smart phone to check Facebook or email while operating a car. That's a dangerous attitude we hope will change. To understand how risky distracted driving is, you only need to review the statistics. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, more than 31,000 crashes between 2009 and 2011 were attributed to distracted driving. That number represents 74 fatal crashes and 7,825 injury accidents.
Distracted driving crashes are among the most preventable accidents. It's a matter of staying alert and focused on the road while driving. Of course, that's easier said than done for some drivers. Some people can't resist the temptation to look at an incoming text while behind the wheel. To break the habit of texting while driving, consider the following tips:
- Keep your smart phone out of your reach, such as in the back seat or locked in the glove box while driving.
- Turn off the phone or switch your device to silent mode.
- Ask a passenger to be a "designated texter" while you're driving.
- Find an app that you can use to block incoming messages or send automatic responses when a friend sends a text.
- If you really need to send a text or read a text, pull over when it's safe to do so. Remember to be patient. Don't swerve from one lane to the next on a busy highway to get to the nearest exit.
- Make sure to talk to your teenagers about the dangers of not only texting but simply talking on phones while driving or using other technology. Remember, it's illegal for drivers under 18 to use cell phones while behind the wheel.
Contact an Ohio car accident attorney at Gervelis Law Firm today if you've been injured by a distracted driver. Call (866) 622-4096 for a free consultation. Offices located in Canfield, Hudson and Warren, Ohio.