Ribbon-cutting held for new distracted driving signs in Flanders

Posted: Updated:
FLANDERS -

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Flanders today for two new signs inviting drivers to pull over on Route 24 and use texting stops.

The stops are areas where drivers can safely stop and respond to text messages. The signs are in memory of Barbara Tocci, who was killed on the route back in 2014.

Tocci’s family says the 47-year-old grandmother was on her way to work when a PSEG utility truck veered into oncoming traffic and hit Tocci’s SUV head-on. Authorities say that driver was texting just before the crash.

“Our mission is to try for somebody else’s family not to go through what we went through,” says Susan Tocci, Barbara’s sister.

Experts say texting drivers take their eyes off the road an average of 5 seconds.

“It’s the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed for the entire length of a football field,” says Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming. “That’s if you are going 55 mph."

The Tocci family and community leaders hope these text stops will help drivers resist the urge to text.

To help resist the urge to text and drive, state troopers suggest drivers place phones on vibrate or put it in the back seat.

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