Deadly Ohio highway crashes increase from distracted driving

Sharon Montgomery lost her husband John in September 2000 when a driver on a cell phone rear-ended a car that then slammed into theirs at a U.S. 62 intersection in Johnstown, Ohio, injuring her and killing him.

“Take her first. Take her first,” John told the first-responders.

Those were the last words she heard her husband speak.

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Dominic Tiberi of Dublin lost his 21-year-old daughter Maria in 2013 when she was killed in what he believes was a distracted driving accident on Interstate 270.

“In a blink of an eye, it can be over,” he said.

Distracted driving was identified in 13,999 crashes in Ohio in 2016, and talking, texting and web surfing while driving is seen a big factor in why auto fatalities ticked up nationally in 2015 for the first time in five decades.

Just last month, a Beavercreek woman lost control of her vehicle as she told a highway trooper she was reaching for her cell phone and ended up crashing through a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base fence on Ohio 444.

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But cell phones aren’t the only driver distraction. Despite safety features that include airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability programs, today’s vehicles may be unwittingly contributing to the problem, according to researchers.


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