‘We are losing lives’: Valley woman pushes for stricter distracted driving laws

Local News

(WKBN) – The problem of texting and driving hits very close to home to Valley businesswoman Tina Yanssens.

Her family runs a trucking business in which drivers are exposed to it every day.

More significantly, Yanssens’ father was killed by a distracted driver.

Yanssens said the problem with distracted driving is getting worse since she lost her father nine years ago. 

“I’m at a loss, honestly, on this because we are losing lives here, and so our legislators need to make this a priority,” she said. 

Her father, Dave Muslovski, died in 2010 — hit as he was walking near his home.

Yanssens spent the next three years gathering information about texting and driving laws. Then came the day she and her mother stood beside former Ohio Governor John Kasich as he signed a bill banning distracted driving.

That bill just made distracted driving a secondary offense, meaning police had to see you do something else before you could be pulled over.

“Nine years ago, Ohio was in the back of the pack, but we’re, we’re falling further behind everyone,” Yanssens said. 

Recently, Governor Mike DeWine announced that he is forming a Distracted Driving Task Force. Yanssens hopes there will at least be a push to make texting and driving a primary offense, but even then, she said there will still be work to do.

“The reality is, a lot of states have already gone past the primary offense. They’re now working on hands-free,” she said.

Yanssens hasn’t been invited to join the governor’s new task force yet, but she said the keys should be education — especially for young drivers — strong legislation and enforcement.

“This worked for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and it will work in this instance, too. So we need to continue to do this in order to bring down the number of incidents, in order to bring down the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities,” she said. 

It’s a cause that Yanssens said she’ll keep pushing.

Related coverage — AAA: Distracted driving laws should get tougher

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