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The bill has support from insurance companies and emergency personnel.
Ohio Highway Patrol Staff Lt. Ed Mejia said distractions include texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, grooming and reading.
In 2014, distracted driving contributed to 2,955 fatal crashes and another 431,000 injury accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year in Ohio, 13,994 drivers crashed when they were distracted by something in their vehicles – a number that has climbed in recent years, Mejia said.
“Every time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road — even for just a few seconds — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” Mejia said. “Distracted driving is unsafe and careless. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”
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Columbus area sports TV personality Dom Tiberi, whose daughter Maria died in a distracted driving accident three years ago, told lawmakers that distracted driving is an epidemic. The Tiberi family is backing the bill.
“We do not want to see any other families go through this nightmare,” he said in written testimony.
In the previous two-year legislative session, three bills designed to crack down on distracted driving stalled.
Seitz, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Hughes, was a driving force to get rid of red light cameras in Ohio.
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