Distractions are everywhere.
Distractions are everywhere.
It was a distraction behind the wheel that took the life of Maria Tiberi on Sept. 17, 2013, and her family is using the tragedy to educate central Ohio teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
"I'm committed, my wife is committed, my son and daughter, Kelsey and Dominic, are committed to this," said Dom Tiberi, a Dublin resident and WBNS-10TV sports anchor.
"We want to elicit change, save lives and keep parents from going through this."
With the help of 10TV, Tiberi created Maria's Message after the death of his 21-year-old daughter; during the next few months, he will take his distracted driving message to central Ohio high schools.
Monday, April 14, he visited Maria's alma mater, Dublin Coffman High School, and then took his message to his alma mater, St. Francis DeSales High School.
The message he uses to try to stop distracted driving is about the trip that ended Maria's life less than 10 minutes after she left home.
"It's heartfelt and I want them to know that I care and my wife cares what happens to them," Tiberi said.
"I think when they hear what happened and how fragile life is ... We all thought we were 10-feet tall and had a big 'S' on our chest (as teens), but sometimes bad things happen," he said.
"I just want to bring them a reality check so they know everything can end in a split second."
There was no alcohol in Maria's system and she was not texting. Tiberi said his daughter must have been distracted by something to be involved in the fatal car crash in Hilliard.
"Everyone thinks it's just texting," Tiberi said of distracted driving. "It is an issue, but not the only (one).
"Anything can distract you today. I've seen ladies putting on makeup when they drive. I've seen people not using mirrors."
Other school visits are slated for Northmor High School April 24, Dublin Jerome High School April 29, Canal Winchester April 30 and Lancaster High School May 1.
Tiberi hopes to set up other distracted driving talks at central Ohio schools and educate teen drivers on defensive driving with classes this summer.
"I not only stress don't be a distracted driver, but be a defensive driver," he said. "You need to realize that at any moment something may go wrong.
"I don't know if kids are getting that message and realize that in today's society with all the cars on the road and construction, you always need to have a way out."
Tiberi hopes his message about distracted driving goes beyond central Ohio teens.
"This message isn't just for kids, it's for everyone," he said.
"We, as parents, need to do a better job to set a better example."
For more information about Maria's Message, look online at 10tv.com/mariasmessage.
"This message isn't just for kids, it's
for everyone. We, as parents, need to do a better job to set a
-- DOM TIBERI
speaking about Maria's Message