Gov. John Kasich has signed legislation designating September as Safe Driving Awareness Month and vowed additional state efforts to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving.
"We're going to do everything we can... we can't let it rest here," Kasich said. "We've got to figure out what else we can do. ... To all the moms and dads and boys and girls, just drive the car. ... The phone can wait, text can wait, just pay attention."
The legislation was offered in memory of Maria Tiberi, daughter of Columbus TV sports anchor Dom Tiberi. She was killed in an accident last year.
Tiberi and others have spoken about the accident to school groups, with hopes of helping teen drivers understand what can happen when they divert their attention from the road.
"Our goal, our prayer, is that we keep other families from going through this nightmare," Dom Tiberi said. "In this country, heart disease is the No. 1 killer, cancer is No. 2 and automobile accidents is No. 3. It is the No. 1 killer of the age group 8-24, and we're losing our youngest and our brightest."
Sen. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus, the primary sponsor of the legislation, added, "Unsafe driving is more than texting. It can be somebody combing their hair, messing with the radio station. It can be even eating a sandwich and dropping something and leaning over. ... People need to stop -- we're all busy but remember what we're doing when we're driving a car, because you can save a life."