WAYNE COUNTY, OH, Oct. 9, 2020 — The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), along with members of the 6-State Trooper Project, are collaborating to focus on education and enforcement of distracted driving law in Ohio. This initiative will begin on Monday, October 5, at 12:01 a.m., and end on Monday, October 12, at 11:59 p.m.
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 the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; or cognitive, taking the mind off driving.
According to Wooster Post OSHP Commander Lt. Stephanie Norman, distracted driving takes many forms and is a growing problem.
“We see a lot of distracted driving in Wayne County,” she said. “A lot of people think of being distracted by cell phones, but distracted driving is, simply, not having your mind on what you are doing while driving.”
According to Norman, to reduce the amount of distracted driving-related crashes, it is essential to be focused on the task of driving while operating a vehicle.
“If you are going to listen to the radio, put it on the station you want before driving away,” she said. “If you use your phone for music, have it already set to your playlist, and don’t touch it again.”
Norman also recommended setting a phone to reject calls while driving.
“We highly recommend not eating while operating a vehicle, those activities take your attention away from driving,” Norman continued. “Have your directions ready and turn the volume up so that you do not have to watch the screen when using a map application.”
Since 2015, there have been 75,411 crashes in Ohio involving one or more drivers distracted by something within their vehicle. Of those, 227 were fatal crashes, which resulted in 248 deaths.
Texting while driving is an example that combines all three types of distraction. 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.
“You are putting your life and the lives of others in danger any time you take your eyes off the road,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “Distracted driving can have devastating consequences for families.”
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.
Posted by Dan Starcher, public communications specialist for the Wayne County government.