Distracted driving involves any activity that causes a visual, mechanical or cognitive distraction. It can involve anything from eating and drinking to sending text messages.
While distracted driving has always been a public safety risk on Ohio roads, the advent of handheld technology has only exacerbated the problem. Across the U.S., distracted driving caused more than 2,800 crash fatalities and about 400,000 injuries in 2018.
In February, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine proposed a bill to make texting and driving a primary offense and prohibit all cellphone use while driving. According to Patch.com, this comes on the heels of a five-year rise in distracted driving fatalities across Ohio.
"We have no doubt that fatal crashes in Ohio have increased due to smartphone use," said state Senator Sean J. O'Brien (D-Bazetta). "Other states that have enacted hands-free laws have seen significant reductions in traffic fatalities, and I'm confident that our Hands-Free Ohio bill will lead to more responsible driving all over the state."
Distracted driving violations on the rise in Ohio
According to a Spectrum News 1 article, distracted driving violations are on the rise in Ohio. The article cites data from the State Highway Patrol that reports 731 distracted driving violations in 2019. As of March 2020, there were already more than 2,800 distracted driving violations.
According to Steve Scharschmidt, the Parma Heights chief of police, police have been cracking down on distracted driving across Ohio. This has resulted in more citations issued to those who violate the statewide texting and driving law.
“You get that text and it's like people feel like it's so critical, whether it be their job or a friend, but it can certainly wait until you get to your destination,” said Scharschmidt. “I mean, it's just a split second and something horrific can happen, and that's what we try to stress to the public is, you just have to pay attention, I mean you just have to be so careful.”
What influences distracted driving?
Mary Kaye Speckart is a driving instructor at Pro Driving School. She tells Spectrum News 1 that while teens are glued to their cellphones, distracted driving is a learned behavior.
“And their parents show them. If their parents are doing it wrong, well it's okay for mom to do it, so why can’t I do it, and you will have a lot of kids tell you that their parents do actually, you know, text and drive,” Speckhart said.
Parents must set an example by not doing it themselves. This will help prevent a further rise in distracted driving violations or crashes.
What should I do if I was involved in a crash with a distracted driver?
If you were involved in a crash with a distracted driver, the aftermath can be overwhelming. You'll be hit with costly medical bills and unable to collect a paycheck. Then, you may be hassled by the at-fault driver's insurance company.
The insurance companies will try to pin the blame on you. They'll do this despite any proof that the driver who hit you was at fault. With the help of an experienced Ohio car accident attorney at Merriman Legal, LLC, you won't have to deal with the insurance companies.
Our legal team will do the talking for you and fight for a fair settlement. To find out how, contact us online or call (866) 823-3332. We offer no obligation case evaluations and serve clients in Cleveland and throughout Ohio.