COLUMBUS – The holiday season brings increased traffic to Ohio’s roadways and additional distractions to motorists.
Therefore, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are reminding drivers to stay off the distracted driving naughty list by putting their cell phones down and keeping their focus on the roadway. Troopers will be stepping up enforcement through the holidays so be good for goodness sake!
Last year, 13,713 traffic crashes in Ohio were a result of distracted driving. As inclement weather increases, it is imperative motorists focus on the roadway to ensure they arrive safely to their destination. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field when traveling at 55 mph.
“The holiday season is the perfect time to eliminate distractions, such as cell phones, while you drive,” DeWine said. “Protect yourself, your family, and others on the road by committing to safe driving habits.”
Over the last five years, between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, there have been 1,171 crashes involving a distracted driver. These crashes have resulted in two deaths and 276 injuries. Last year, 47 fatal traffic crashes attributed to distracted driving caused 51 deaths on Ohio’s roads.
“Those numbers aren’t just statistics, they represent lives - parents, spouses, siblings, and friends,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible, and in a split second, the consequences can be devastating for families.”
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Distractions can be visual, taking eyes off of the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; or cognitive, taking the mind off driving. Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.
As a reminder, Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers and is a secondary offense for adults 18 and above.
For a statistical map regarding distracted driving and a county-by-county map of distracted driving crashes, visit: https://statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/Distracted_Driving_HolidayUpdate_2019.pdf