Distracted drivers on the Ohio Turnpike had better put their phones down. The Ohio Turnpike and the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) just launched a distracted driving safety initiative along two sections of the Ohio Turnpike. The initiative will run through Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The two sections, the first ever on the Ohio Turnpike, are being designated as Distracted Driving Enforcement Zones. Motorists will see an increased presence of troopers and additional electronic signage within these zones in an effort to reduce crashes and raise awareness. Statewide from 2018 through 2019, there were 27,198 crashes involving distracted driving. Of those, 9396 were injury crashes and 88 were fatalities.
The Distracted Driving Enforcement Zone Locations are:
Zone 1 in Erie County: Milepost 108 to 116, eastbound and westbound lanes
Zone 2 in Summit County: Milepost 174 to 190, eastbound and westbound lanes
“Distracted driving is a major factor in crashes on all roads and the Ohio Turnpike is no exception,” said Ferzan M. Ahmed, P.E., Executive Director. “We appreciate this partnership with the Highway Patrol and their enforcement work to discourage distracted driving. Our top priority is safety and this effort will help us finish strong in 2020 with fewer crashes.”
“The dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone. Every time someone takes their eyes off the road – even for just a few seconds – they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said Staff Lt. William Haymaker, Turnpike Liaison. “The purpose of establishing these zones is to bring further awareness and education to the problem of distracted driving.”
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 the driving task. Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.
Motorists are encouraged to use #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity.