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Ohio accident solicits comments regarding distracted drivers

When queried by newspaper reporters following a vehicle crash in a small town in the south central region of Ohio, motorists, tow truck drivers, road construction workers and emergency responders readily stated what is an increasingly prevalent view in Ohio and elsewhere throughout the country: Distracted driving is routinely the direct cause of car accidents, it is ever-present on roadways, and knowing how common it is makes them fearful when they are out on the road.

Their views were solicited in the wake of a crash caused by a distracted driver recently in the small town of Franklin Furnace, in Scioto County. In that accident, a driver from Kentucky rammed a slow-moving Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) warning truck from behind that was trailing a debris sweeper with lights flashing.

The accident occurred on U.S. 52. The ODOT driver was seriously injured and taken to a hospital. The Kentucky motorist was in stable condition following the crash.

"He said he looked down to get a pop can out of the floorboard," said an Ohio State Patrol trooper who questioned the distracted driver following the accident. The motorist may be charged with not keeping a safe distance from the ODOT vehicle.

Motorists paying undue attention to things other than driving -- mobile devices, food, the scenery -- account for about 6,000 traffic fatalities annually. Drivers with a hand-device are four times more likely to crash than other motorists.

"It's very scary when you put your life in their hands -- very scary," said a local tow truck driver.

Source: WSAZ News Channel 3, "New info: Scioto County accident sparks distracted driver concerns" Josh McComas, Jan. 5, 2012

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