Legislative proposals target distracted driving
DAYTON — The Ohio Legislature is considering two bills aimed at curbing distracted driving after records found that talking, texting and web surfing contributed to nearly 14,000 crashes in the state last year.
House Bill 95 would make distracted driving a secondary offense with a maximum $100 fine, the Dayton Daily News has reported .
House Bill 293 targets younger motorists by establishing a 9 p.m. curfew for driving unless accompanied by an adult and extending the learner’s permit period from six months to a year.
Some Ohio residents know the results of distracted driving firsthand and told the newspapers stories of loss and heartbreak.
Sharon Montgomery was injured and her husband killed in 2000 after a driver on a cellphone crashed into a car that hit their vehicle at an intersection in central Ohio’s Licking County.
Montgomery said her husband telling first responders to “take her first” were the last words she heard him speak.
Dominic Tiberi, of Dublin, said he believes his 21-year-old daughter, Maria, was distracted when she crashed into the back of a stopped semitrailer at more than 50 mph.
Tiberi said the last words he heard his daughter speak were to his wife.
“My wife said, ‘I love you Maria.’ And she said, ‘I love you more,” Tiberi said.
Traffic deaths increased nationally in 2015 following a five-decade downward trend, and experts say distracted driving shares part of the blame.
More than 35,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. Nearly 10 percent of those deaths involved distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Tiberis have started a foundation named after their daughter. They’ve donated 44 driving simulators to help show the dangers of distracted driving.
Sharon Montgomery said she is no longer a grieving widow. He’s an angry advocate.
“People need to know … this is something that affects people for the rest of their lives,” she said.