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Look out for distracted drivers in Ohio this weekend

A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. In one second, a car can be wrecked and people can be seriously injured. Despite the fact that many, if not all, drivers in Ohio know this, many of them take their eyes and attention of the road for several seconds just to check their phones.

The problem of distraction behind the wheel is widespread. Drivers of all ages, genders and backgrounds can become victims of a car accident caused by a driver who is simply not paying attention to the road. And with the likelihood of more drivers being on the road this holiday weekend, it is a problem that authorities are addressing. 

Ohio law limits distracting behaviors behind the wheel but there are many people who take advantage of how difficult these laws can be to enforce. Drivers are not allowed to text behind the wheel, but they may hide their phones if they see an officer or claim that they were just making a call if they are pulled over. It may be a little easier for police to cite young drivers for unlawful use of a cellphone, as they are prohibited from using anything except hands-free navigation devices while they are driving.

But the issue remains a worrisome one. A driver who is focused on their phone can fail to notice traffic signals, pedestrians crossing the street and changes in road conditions. With their eyes, hands and attentions directed away from operating their vehicle safely, these drivers are believed to be just as, if not more, dangerous than drunk drivers. And without effective and consistent enforcement efforts, many of these negligent drivers go unpunished until they end up causing a crash.

Victims of a car accident with a distracted driver can, however, hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions. Taking legal action against a driver whose behavior contributed to a crash resulting in painful and sometimes life-threatening injuries is one way of holding them responsible. Not only can this help send a message to other distracted drivers, but it can also get victims the financial compensation they may desperately need to help them recover from a crash.

Source: The News-Herald, "Authorities say ban on texting while driving seems to be a deterrent," Matthew Skrajner, Aug. 25, 2013

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