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Family recovering from distracted driving crash

Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 08, 2016
In 2015, there were more than 45,700 distracted driving crashes in Florida resulting in more than 39,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities.
 
Throughout the month of April, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reminding motorists to fully focus on driving and not drive distracted.  
 
For Jason Olson, the accident he and his wife experienced felt like it happened in just seconds.
 
"They could hear it a block away," said Jason Olson, the victim of a texting and driving accident. "It was like a real explosion."
 
The pair were trapped inside their car, the doors jammed in. Olson was disoriented from a head injury and his wife was also unable to free herself from the wreckage.
 
"I re-live it every day," Olson said. "I think about it every day."
 
For Olsen, the injuries have dismantled much of his once-active life. He was a pilot.  Now, his injuries make him unable to fly.
 
"You think about that," Olson said. "You can't buy back time."
 
There's also an effect on his brain.
 
"I have a harder time with memory and constructing sentences," he said.
 
The National Safety Council is taking a stand, asking people to pledge not to text and drive. They are also offering up materials and safety course to any organization looking to create a "safe cell phone policy." The hope is that businesses will spread to word to reduce workplace car accidents and save lives.
 
After two years, Olson is buried in legal fees and paperwork. But what's worse for him is that  he can't drive without fear.
 
"I spent a lot of time in the rearview mirror," he said. "Now when I'm at a stop, I' m looking at who is coming."
 
He says picking up the phone while driving is simply not worth your life.
 
Texting is not the only driver distraction. Distractions can include talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, reaching to comfort a child in the back seat, eating, tuning the radio, checking a GPS navigation device or even daydreaming.
 
Almost 20,000 drivers under 30 were involved in a crash in 2015 in Florida from driving distracted.