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Cayuga County officials discourage drive-by crash scene photos

While Aurelius firefighter David Perkins was directing traffic at an accident on Routes 5 and 20 on Memorial Day, some red flags were raised among emergency personnel at the scene: the dangers of digital rubbernecking.

At around 12:40 p.m. May 28, Perkins was called to a crash between Cayuga and Short roads. A car had been T-boned by a milk truck, shutting down one lane and creating quite a mess in the road.

It also created quite a traffic scene, Perkins said. He soon spotted the traditional rubbernecking — drivers slowing their cars and turning their heads to gawk at the crash. But then he saw something else — drivers pulling out their phones for a picture.

"It got me thinking," Perkins said. "We were discussing that a number of people were driving by and trying to film the incident. … And we thought it may be worthwhile to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving around accidents, trying to be proactive rather than reactive."

As a whole, Cayuga County Sheriff's Office Lt. Michael Wellauer said distracted driving has been an issue nationwide, particularly with people making texts or calls while driving. But when it comes to accidents, the road patrol division commander said this new form of rubbernecking has become an even bigger problem.

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