Dear Readers:
Everyone knows about the dangers of drinking and driving by now but apparently “distracted driving” is an even greater threat ….., as this story will show!
An Ottawa woman whose daughter died in a car crash hopes her story will serve as a warning to others about the dangers of distracted driving.
Samantha Lyman’s daughter Katrina died on May 20, 2010, when her vehicle collided with a pickup truck near her home. The 18-year-old had posted a message to Facebook moments before the collision, and her mother says that’s what led to her death.
Now, Samantha Lyman wants Katrina’s story to be a cautionary tale for others.
“Everybody believes it won’t happen to them. They won’t lose someone or it won’t be them, and I’m here to say it did happen, and it does happen,” Samantha Lyman told CTV Ottawa on Wednesday.
Ontario Provincial Police are in the midst of a crackdown on distracted driving during March Break. It’s illegal in the province to text or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device, yet distracted driving remains a common sight on the roads.
Ottawa Police say they’ve laid nearly 30 distracted driving charges against motorists as part of a crackdown that began March 14.
“It’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel,” Staff Sgt. Brad Hamson told CTV Ottawa. “There are so many people that are actually doing it.”
Hamson says Ottawa Police have laid one careless driving charge, two charges of a display screen being visible to the driver, and 24 charges of using a handheld communication device while driving.
Twelve people have already died in Ontario due to distracted driving-related incidents, the OPP said last week. They added that Ontario is on pace to see more crashes caused by distracted driving than by impaired driving for the seventh consecutive year.
Samantha Lyman says she often warned her daughter about texting and driving, but a moment of carelessness cost her her life.
“She had a purpose, she had a life, and it’s gone now because of not thinking,” Lyman said. “And I always warned her, I said that phone would kill her.”
Distracted drivers who are caught in Ontario could face up to $500 in fines, though the punishment becomes more severe if the driver endangers other people.
The provincial government started a push last year to stiffen the penalties for distracted driving by doubling the maximum fines.
With files from CTV Ottawa