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Two recent truck crashes in central Ohio demonstrate the importance of eliminating distracted driving from our roads.

Two Central Ohio women died May 8th in a crash on I-70 near Wilson Road when a tractor-trailer slammed into their vehicles. The Franklin County Sheriff’s office reported that the driver of the tractor-trailer, Tony Smith of Chicago, failed to notice slow traffic and hit several cars and another semi truck, causing a chain reaction crash. The two women who were killed were drivers of two of the cars struck by Smith. Both died at the scene of the accident.

Prior to the fatal truck crash, an earlier accident had caused traffic to back up for several miles and move slowly. Authorities did not give any indication of what might have distracted the tractor trailer driver. Congested traffic resulting from traffic accidents is a common occurrence. Drivers who are distracted by texting, cell phones or other electronic devices or those who are too sleepy to be behind the wheel lack the ability to respond quickly enough to traffic that unexpectedly slows or stops, often with tragic results.

Last month, a tractor trailer struck an Ohio Department of Transportation backhoe on I-71 near Polaris Parkway, killing an ODOT worker. Investigators found no evidence that the driver of that truck had braked or attempted to slow down prior to the crash and witnesses reported that the truck had been traveling on the “rumble strip” before hitting the backhoe.

Both accidents demonstrate the danger and growing threat of distracted drivers. Recent studies indicate that distracted driving is a factor in an increasing number of motor vehicle accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day more than 9 people die and more than 1,060 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the task of driving and also includes eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading books or maps, using a navigation system, watching a video or adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 device. All forms of distracted driving, whether visual, manual or cognitive, endanger drivers and occupants of motor vehicles as well as bystanders and pedestrians.

The Columbus Ohio attorneys of Clark, Perdue & List are experienced in handling claims for injury or wrongful death involving distracted driving. We have helped many people who have suffered as a result of motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence and willful and wanton actions of others.

“Fatal crash on I-70 underscores backup risks” Columbus Dispatch, Ryan Clark, May 9, 2013

“OHP: Truck Did Not Brake Before Fatal I-71 Crash” 10TV, April 23, 2013