MOUNT GILEAD — April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Mount Gilead Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to keep their eyes and their focus on the roadway while driving.
Last year, 48 people lost their lives and more than 7,200 were injured in Ohio as a result of distracted driving crashes. Male drivers were 56 percent more likely than females to be distracted in a crash. In fatal crashes, males made up 72 percent of distracted drivers. Nearly 32 percent of distracted drivers were between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.
“When you take your eyes off the road – even for just a few seconds – you are putting your life and the lives of others in danger,” Lieutenant Grewal, Commander of the Mount Gilead Post said. “Driving distracted is unsafe, irresponsible and its consequences can be devastating.”
On Oct. 29, 2018, Ohio passed House Bill 95, a law which broadened what is considered distracted driving and increased the fine if it was a contributing factor to the commission of the driving violation.
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. 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.
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.
A traffic safety bulletin can be found at: https://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/links/Distracted_Driving_Bulletin_2020.pdf.