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Distracted driving on the rise in Ohio

Distracted driving is dangerous and can have serious consequences for victims and their families. A smashed Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP) car sits outside of a patrol post in Ohio as a reminder of the dangers of distracted driving. A police officer was injured in the accident when a drunk driver, also suspected of distracted driving, hit him during a routine stop. According to the OHP, distracted driving is up by 39 percent. In addition, distraction-related accidents are also on the rise and have increased by 11 percent. Between 2014 and 2015 13,261 distracted driving-related accidents were reported that resulted in 39 fatalities.

Authorities are trying to get the message out concerning the dangers of inattentive driving. Distracted driving is defined as an activity that removes the driver's focus from the roadway. Distracted driving includes interacting with passengers, as well as using a cell phone while driving. In addition, eating and drinking are also considered driver distractions which can be dangerous. Additional forms of distraction include adjusting radio controls, climate controls or navigation systems in addition to other common driver behaviors such as grooming or reading.

When drivers remove their eyes from the roadway, it can have devastating consequences. While increasing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving is important, it is also important for victims of distracted driving-related car accidents to be familiar with the protections available to them if they have been injured in a distracted driving-related car accident. Victims of a distracted driving-related accident may be able to recover compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages suffered in the accident through a personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages.

Negligent drivers, such as distracted drivers, may be liable to compensate victims for damages in circumstances when they have been cited by police and in other circumstances as well, depending on the situation. When harmed, it is important for victims to understand the legal options that may be available to them which will hold the negligent driver accountable.

Source: The News-Herald, "Distracted driving incidents on the rise in Ohio," Kristi Garabrandt, Nov. 20, 2016

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