Father of girl killed by distracted driving speaks

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A grieving father has taken his distracted driving message to students of the high school where his daughter was enrolled.

William Havens recently addressed 670 students at a National Teen Driver Safety Week assembly at Eastland Career Center in Groveport.  His 17 year old daughter, Sydnee Williams, died last year after suffering injuries in a one car crash caused by distracted driving.  Sydnee Williams was driving her Honda Civic car on Route 161 in Licking County when she glaced at her cell phone to read an incoming text message.  That moment of inattention was all that was necessary to cause Sydnee to lose control of her car.  The car rolled several times.  Sydnee was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.  A back seat passenger in the vehicle was not properly buckled in a seat beat.  That passenger suffered permanent injuries.  The front seat passenger who was wearing a seat belt escaped the crash without injury.

In Ohio, 155 teenagers died in 2012 when they were in car accidents involving teen drivers.  Two-thirds of the victims were passengers in cars driven by another teen.  Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents involving teen drivers. One out of every five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes was distracted by texting or cell phones at the time of the accident.

Last week, a bill was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives that would elevate texting and driving to a primary offense for all drivers.  Presently, texting while driving is a primary offense only for teenaged drivers and a secondary offense for adult drivers. 

October 19-25, 2014 was National Teen Driver Safety Week.   National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress in 2007 and is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to unnecessary teen deaths on the road.  Observed annually during the third week of each October, its goal is to focus the nation’s attention on this serious issue.

The distracted driving injury lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List have witnessed the devastating loss a moment of inattention can cause. We urge all parents to counsel their children about safe driving practices.