Warning over distracted driving, seat belt safety after child’s death

DAYTON,Ohio (WDTN) — Police are sending a warning about the dangers of distracted driving in the wake of a car crash that left a 10 year old boy dead and a 12 year old girl in hospital, Sunday. A Dayton Children’s Hospital director says the tragedy could also be used as a talking point about car safety.

The driver, Carla Jo Kingsley, 49, told police she heard her phone ring and next thing she knew – she was in a ditch.

She and her 12-year-old daughter were treated in hospital.

The Preble County Coroner’s office identified her 10-year-old son as Dalton Kingsley of Eaton.

Dayton Children’s Hospital Director of Center for Child Health and Wellness Jessica Saunders said families could use the tragedy as an opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues.

“Tragedies like this one, unfortunately they have to happen sometimes for us to just start a discussion. But fortunately this is an opportunity to talk about the importance of car safety. And it really is something the entire family needs to embrace,” Saunders said.

“As parents we might think, ‘It can never happen to me’. And as a parent, I do this myself, I say, ‘You know it can happen to me. What can I do to make sure my child is always safe.'”

Saunders says car accidents are one of the biggest reasons children are admitted at the emergency department.

“We see probably about 300, 350 a year on average – and that’s a lot,” she said.

“Sometimes kids can walk away fine. A lot of times it’s the car seat or the booster seat or the seat belt that keeps them safe.”

Lt Mark Nichols of Dayton’s Ohio State Highway Patrol also addressed the issue.

He said making a quick call or checking a text message while behind the wheel, can be a fatal error.

“When you have tragedy like you did yesterday in Preble County, it just rings home. We want people to focus on their driving… Just put that phone down,” Nichols said.

“A lot of people aren’t even going that far. They’re just going from home to work, or work to the store, something like that. Anything that’s on that phone can wait.”

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts your attention away from driving – like eating, changing the radio station, adjusting your GPS navigation, or texting or talking on the phone.

Statistics say more than thirteen thousand drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something, in 2015.

Forty three people were killed.

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