OHIO VALLEY – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Gallia/Meigs Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol wants to remind drivers to keep their eyes and focus on the road while they’re behind the wheel.
Last year 13,261 crashes in Ohio had a reported distraction, including 39 fatal crashes. From 2014 to 2015, the number of reported distracted drivers rose 11 percent.
“Every time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road — even for just a few seconds — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said Lt. Max Norris, commander of the Gallia/Meigs post. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”
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.
Ohio law prohibits all cell phone usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers, as a secondary offense.
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that has 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.
For more distracted driving facts, visit http://statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/Distracted_Driving_Bulletin_2016.pdf.