The deep and deadly costs of distracted driving hitting all Ohio residents

Posted at 8:20 AM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 08:20:19-04

CLEVELAND—You've heard about distracted driving. But before you blow that off thinking you've got it under control, obviously, many of us don't. 5 On Your Side Investigators are breaking down the deep costs of distracted driving that are hitting all of us in Ohio.

“This woman is texting. No signal. Drifting in-between lanes," could be heard from a recent 5 On Your Side Investigation that documented all kinds of distracted driving in our area. Now new data shows some of the consequences of distraction.

"From our research, 1 in 10 fatal auto accidents involve at least one driver behind the wheel being distracted," said Julie Mix McPeak who’s the President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Those are completely avoidable accidents,” she added.

They’re avoidable because we shouldn't be doing things like texting and driving, putting on make-up, eating food while using a knee on the steering wheel, and more. Because, in addition to terrible fatalities, the crashes are crashing our wallets, too.

“Rates in Ohio have gone up nearly 14% since 2010,” said McPeak.

Another report from the insurance website shows in Cleveland the increase is $269 a year and that's if you don't get in a crash.

RELATED: Distracted driving campaign launched in Lake County warns drivers of the dangers on the road

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"Those are hidden costs that a lot of times people are not thinking about," said Debbie Hersman who is the President of the National Safety Council. "There's a huge economic toll when it comes to motor vehicle crashes."

That and the nearly 40,000 deaths nationally on our roads has the Safety Council pushing the "Road to Zero" campaign with a goal of zero road-related deaths by 2050.

"If we could make those hundreds of thousands of crashes every year go away, we would save a tremendous amount of public dollars but also private dollars,” Hersman told us.

So, both women are asking, if not begging you, to get rid of the distractions. "It really needs to become more the societal norm to put your phone away,” said McPeak.

April is Distracted Drivers Awareness Month.

Here’s more on the "Road to Zero" campaign and real numbers on crashes and consequences.