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Distracted Driving Crashes Caused By Cell Phones, Food ... Artwork?

This video features pictures of an enormous, colorful mural in Columbus, Ohio. On September 4, 2012, the Columbus Dispatch reported that some drivers were blaming the 300-foot murals going up on both sides of East North Broadway between Interstate 71 and Indianola Avenue for causing distracted driving accidents. The Dispatch said the project of the Clintonville Historical Society in honor of Columbus' bicentennial was approved by the Columbus Art Commission in May.

Steven Yoho told the Dispatch that he was admiring the mural when he not only rear-ended a van on his way to work on July 16, but another driver then crashed into his vehicle while he was surveying the damage. That driver told him at the hospital that she had also been looking at the artwork.

"She said through tears it was that mural," Yoho told the Dispatch. "It's just too big and too close."

The Dispatch reported that while city rules "demand that billboards be placed at least 25 feet away from streets and sidewalks," the rules do not set limits on either the size or the placement of artwork. The Clintonville mural is "a sidewalk-width away from traffic heading east and west on North Broadway," according to the Dispatch.

Department of Public Service spokesman Rick Tilton told the Dispatch that city transportation officials have "no role in determining whether something might pose a distraction to motorists," and Lieutenant Brent Mull of the Columbus Police Division traffic unit pointed out that it is still the driver's responsibility to pay attention. "Whether it be a cellphone, your french fries, a cup of coffee — you have to maintain control of your vehicle," Mull told the Dispatch.

Lieutenant Mull is right to remind motorists that distractions are not acceptable excuses for causing a collision, as distracted driving crashes can cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities. We have additional information about serious car accidents on our website, and you may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has sustained devastating injuries because of a distracted motorist. You can fill out the form on this page to have our Cincinnati injury lawyers review your case or contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.

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