Ohio law enforcement and lawmakers continue focus on reducing distracted driving accidents

Over the last decade as more technology has entered our vehicles, the potential for distraction has increased. As a result, distracted driving has become a significant cause of car accidents in Cleveland and the rest of Ohio and has put traditional sources of distraction, such as tuning the radio, on the radar as well. In response, law enforcement has stepped up enforcement of distracted driving laws and lawmakers in the state have strengthened such laws. Recently, efforts to reduce distracted driving in the state have focused on the business community and teen drivers.

Distracted driving and the Ohio business community

The Ohio Highway Patrol recently put together a demonstration with a local fire department and chamber of commerce in the southern part of the state to explain the dangers of distracted driving to the local business community. The lesson applies no matter the location in Ohio: work-related crashes are the number one cause of workplace deaths, and distracted driving is at the root of many work-related car accidents. Too often business professionals attempt to multi-task on the road to avoid missing important phone calls or to save time, but those actions can result in devastating consequences.

Teen drivers, distracted driving and proposed changes to graduated license program

Ohio lawmakers are again directing their attention to teen drivers and distracted driving by proposing changes to the state's graduated driver's license program. A proposed law would amend the state's graduated license program to further limit the number of non-family passengers and would shorten driving time for teens. The bill limits the number of non-family passengers to one adult older than 21, which essentially means teen drivers subject to the program may not have any teenage friends in the car. Under the current law, 16-year-old drivers cannot legally drive with more than one unrelated passenger of any age. The bill also lengthens the curfew, prohibiting teen drivers from being on the road between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. However, teens traveling to school or work would not be subject to the curfew. The current curfew does not allow teen drivers to be on the road between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

If Ohio adopted the changes to the graduated license program, the number of fatal crashes in Ohio would drop by 20 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Ohio currently ranks 29th among states for the highest rate of teen driving deaths, according to a study by Erie Insurance. Some Ohio parents are divided between concerns about the safety of their teen drivers and the practical challenges that would come with the proposed law. Teen drivers must safely build experience while limiting sources of distractions.

Distracted driving facts and seeking legal help

Distracted driving has become, like drunk driving, a public safety concern. According to the federal government, at least 10 percent of crashes with injuries in 2011 involved distracted driver, and in that same year more than 3,300 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving.

Victims of distracted driving accidents have the right to seek recourse, and a personal injury attorney with experience in car accidents caused by distracted driving can best guide victims on their path to legal recovery.