CLEVELAND - For those who respond first in the case of the emergency, getting to the scene of a car accident is the most dangerous part of their job -- with distracted drivers posing serious harm to rescue vehicles, including tow truck and road workers.
National traffic safety numbers show there are about 6,000 deaths a year from distracted driving. Drivers who use a hand-held device are four times as likely to crash. And nearly one fifth of all fatal crashes with drivers under 20 years of age involve distracted driving.
Ohio Highway Patrol troopers said distracted driving was the trigger for a crash that seriously injured a 49-year-old ODOT driver who was at the wheel of a warning truck that was trailing a debris sweeper. Angie Erwin was hit while driving the orange signed, flashing light truck.
Christopher Altman, a 28-year-old from South Shore, Ky., was driving on U.S. 52 in Franklin Furnace when he reached down to grab a can of soda from the floorboard of his vehicle.
“He said he looked down to get a pop can out of the floorboard," said Trooper Richendollar. "If you take your eyes off the road for a few seconds -- this is what can happen.”
Troopers said Christopher Altman may face charges for not keeping an assured clear distance from the ODOT truck.
Nationwide, new legislation is being considered to ban all cell phones and mobile devices when driving. That being said, this crash proves distraction can come from the simplest act that takes your focus away from driving.
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