ERIE Helps Spread Maria’s Message
Dom Tiberi lost his daughter on Sept. 17, 2013, when the car she was driving hit the back of a stopped semi-truck trailer. Investigators ruled that the cause of the accident was “an unknown distraction.”
In the year since, Dom – a television sports anchor in Columbus, Ohio – has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The cornerstone of the campaign is Maria’s Message, a pledge named for his late daughter that asks for a commitment to avoid distractions while driving.
Dom’s efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving include presentations to more than 8,000 high school students, a series of public service announcements (PSAs) and tailgate events at 10 local high school football games this fall. Dom also prompted Ohio state lawmakers to declare September Distracted Driving Month.
ERIE joined the cause, both with funding and hands-on support. The Ohio sales team appears in a PSA funded by ERIE. ERIE also helped purchase a distracted driving simulator for use at high schools and tailgate events. Columbus Branch Employees and Agents help staff the tailgate events.
“What we’re doing is good – it’s the right thing to do,” said Ohio Branch Manager Ray Cogan. “But what Dom is doing is amazing. He’s so courageous to be out there, talking about what happened in his family so others can hopefully avoid similar tragedies.”
In an interview on 10TV in Columbus, Dom said his mission is to help save lives.
“My pledge to all those parents out there that have lost kids (is) that I am your advocate,” he said. “I want to be your advocate. My family wants to be your advocate.”
ERIE’s teen driving program returns
ERIE’s safe teen driving program, Shift, returned for its third year this month. This year, the program will include the above video message from Dom about his family’s experience.
Shift includes an annual contest in which high school students and high schools can earn points by creating safe driving videos, taking a safe driver pledge, sharing content on social media and referring friends to join Shift during the eight-week contest. Sixteen prizes totaling $20,000 will be awarded to students and schools with the most points. The contest ends Nov. 17. Learn more at JointheShift.org.