Iowa man warns about distracted driving dangers after witnessing deadly crash

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- One Eastern Iowa man is hosting presentations during the month of April for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Shawn O'Brien is a Senior Loss Control Representative with United Fire Group.

He says a terrible crash changed his life and now he's teaching others to think before reaching for the phone while driving.

O'Brien's message is simple: If your phone rings or we hear a text message, you don't need to answer it, it's just not "worth it."

It's not worth risking your lives or taking someone else's life which is what O'Brien witnessed years ago.
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Back in 2011, O'Brien was driving back from a client's home when he was involved in a terrible accident.

He remembers driving behind an SUV when an oncoming car rounded a curve and crashed head-on into the vehicle in front of him.

When he got out of his car he saw two mangled cars in a ditch.

And lying nearby he spotted a young mother and her three-year-old daughter who both died in the crash.

Shawn says this horrific scene was caused by another driver who reached for their phone.

"There's not a phone call in the world that's worth killing somebody for. You know I'm sure anybody that's caused one of these accidents wishes they could get that time back. I guarantee they want it back, but you can't go back, so you just got to realize that phone calls not worth it," O'Brien said.

He tells us that his life completely changed after this accident.

O'Brien never picks up his phone in the car and now he's delivering talks and presentations all over Eastern Iowa through UFG Insurance about the dangers of distracted driving.

In 2017, Iowa passed a law banning texting while driving.

The Iowa State Patrol says since the law went into effect they've written over 800 tickets for distracted driving.

To take the pledge to not drive while distracted, visit www.ufgworthit.com/