Following two fatal crashes, ISP reminds drivers about dangers of distracted driving

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Keeping drivers focused on the road continues to be a priority for police. They're reminding drivers to keep their eyes on the road following a pair of deadly crashes from the weekend.

The first happened on Saturday near mile marker 11, in western Indiana along I-70. According to Indiana State Police, a driver of a semi truck told police he got distracted and didn't notice traffic in front of him had slowed down due to a crash up ahead. He struck another vehicle and killed Morgan Johnson, 20, who lived in Putnam County.

The crash caused another fatal crash six miles down the road at mile marker 17, where traffic was moving slow, too. ISP said another semi truck driver was eating while behind the wheel and dropped a sandwich. He tried to pick it up and noticed traffic was moving slow. He swerved to avoid vehicles in front of him but ended up striking a vehicle and killed April Robinson, who lived in Indianapolis.

"It comes down to common sense. Don’t’ be so selfish," said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine. "I want you to drive as if you are courteous to everyone around you. That includes limiting your distractions so that the road is safe for everybody."

Another distracted driving incident took place Monday in southwest Indiana. ISP out of Jasper said a truck carrying gravel rolled over and spilled 20 tons of rock onto the road. Police said the driver told them he was on his cell phone.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 3,400 people lost their lives nationally in 2016 due to distracted driving. The figures are the most recent numbers available.

Perrine said those numbers could be even higher because it's difficult to track every distraction.

"Distracted driving probably causes a lot more crashes than we have a statistic for because it’s not always an easy one to capture," said Perrine. "There are so many distractions inside a vehicle, of course, the first one is cell phones and cell phone use. But think about all the other ones, the technology in your vehicle, the GPS, the radio, the DVD player, the radio, your passengers, your children, your food, drinks, your coffee. All these things are distractions and they take your focus away from the most important thing which is driving."

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