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Cautionary tale: distracted driver totals pregnant woman's car

PLYMOUTH, Ind. - A pregnant woman was left with a totaled car and nearly had to undergo an emergency C-section after a distracted driver rear-ended her. Now, she hopes her story serves as a reminder to all drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

“I was shocked. I looked up right at the last second, so I kind of saw her coming,” said Margaret Belt, who is due to give birth to a baby girl on July 9.

She was hit on South Oak Road Wednesday a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon, right next to Washington Elementary School.

“We were just heading home and stopped up at the stoplight. It was backed up, and I was stopped, and the lady behind me, she was looking down. Didn’t see my car didn’t even have time to attempt to stop and hit me full on from the back,” said Belt.

She says the crash totaled her car, nearly forcing her to have an emergency C-section Thursday.

“Luckily the airbag didn’t hit my stomach, just hit my chest and my neck, so I’m very lucky that everything turned out okay, and baby’s doing just fine,” said Belt.

According to the Plymouth Police report, the driver who hit Margaret looked down for just a second before slamming into her.

“I know that may drivers you know they glance at their cell phones or they look at the radio for just a second, and they do it so often that they think oh nothing’s going to happen, but then something like that happens,” said Belt.

In.gov says distracted driving collisions happened 9,177 times in 2014.

Marshall County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Sarber says his office pursues criminal charges against the drivers who cause these crashes roughly 25 times a year.

“It’s something where you shouldn’t be doing that as a normal person driving, and that’s where you  merge into reckless driving, criminal recklessness is another serious charge that can be levied,” said Sarber.

He says Indiana has regulations about texting and watching TV while driving but no all-encompassing distracted driving law.

“Every instance where there’s a distracted driver is going to be slightly different, so to impose the same blanket penalty on all those I don’t think is a good thing, but at the same time, it imposes that responsibility on our office,” said Sarber.

“It can happen in just a few seconds, and a few seconds can really impact someone’s life, on top of your own,” said Margaret.

Starting Monday, June 26, Michigan State Police are cracking down on unsafe commercial vehicle drivers in a campaign called ‘Summer of Safe-D.”

SAFE-D stands for Speed, Awareness, Fastening seat belts or Following too closely, Education, and Distracted driving.

This campaign comes after the state saw a 41% increase in deaths involving these vehicles last year.

Click on each state for more information on its distracted driving laws: Michigan and Indiana.

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