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Woman who lost baby, leg in distracted driving crash advocates to make Ohio 'hands-free'

Published By Local 12 on May 6, 2021
Cindy Abrams In The News

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Legislators are taking another run at making Ohio a hands-free state. A proposed bill would make distracted driving a primary offense.

It's a nightmare 10 years ago that brings fear to Aimee Eckert. The Mason graduate was living in the south at the time. She was off work and heading to the beach.

“A woman was texting and driving. She crossed left of center and hit me head-on,” Eckert said.

Eckert’s car was ripped to pieces on an Alabama road. She woke up from a coma in the hospital two weeks later missing one thing:

“That's the first thing that I noticed was I was no longer pregnant,” she said.

Two years later, her leg was amputated.

Pushing for Eckert and other victims, Ohio State Rep. Cindy Abrams wants to make distracted driving a primary offense.

“Which means if the officer sees you literally driving ... looking at your phone, they can pull you over," Abrams said.

Data reported in Ohio by Nationwide Insurance shows the average driver takes their eyes off the road for six seconds 13 times a day.

Despite less traffic this past year because of the pandemic, president of the Ohio Institute of Insurance Dean Padel said the severity of crashes got worse.

“The official number of total distracted driving crashes last year was 12,274,” Padel said.

Forty-four other states have passed various distracted driving laws. Abrams said within two years of passing and enforcing them, there was a decrease in traffic deaths.

“The number one concern for Ohio drivers is people distracted on the road,” Abrams said.

Ten years after the accident, Eckert’s memories haven't faded, but she's advocating for a bill that could save someone from suffering like she did.

“It’s the emotional pain that doesn’t go away, losing a baby and just everything I lost. That always sticks with you. It’s probably one of the most important things I’ll ever push for,” she said.

If the bill passes, the first offense is a $150 fine or the option of driving school.

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