Multi-agency partnership to increase patrols for distracted drivers on stretch of I-70

Multi-agency partnership to increase patrols for distracted drivers on stretch of I-70
Members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Indiana State Police, Richmond Police Department, Preble County Sheriff's Office, and the Ohio Department of Transportation announce increased patrols on I-70 to reduce distracted driving crashes (James Rider/Staff)

A collaboration of multiple agencies will increase patrols along I-70 in Preble and Wayne counties in an effort to reduce crashes caused by distracted driving.

The combined effort was announced Thursday and will feature the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Indiana State Police, Preble County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond Police Department, and Ohio Department of Transportation.

In Ohio, the I-70 stretch through Preble County was designated as a distracted driving safety corridor, meaning more law enforcement presence on the highway looking for dangerous drivers. Additionally ODOT will place signs along the highway reminding drivers to eliminate distractions while behind the wheel.

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“The dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone, but motorists still choose to participate in this dangerous behavior,” Lt. Geoffrey Freeman, Dayton OSHP Post Commander said. “The purpose of establishing this safety corridor is to bring further awareness and education to the problem of distracted driving.”

In Preble County, distracted driving accounts for more crashes on I-70 and on the main routes of U.S. 127, U.S. 40, and U.S. 35 than OVI-related crashes, state troopers said.

“Sending or receiving a text messages 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 55 mph,” state troopers said.

Indiana State Police said they will be increasing patrols on their side of the state line for the next three weeks through Wayne and Henry counties.

“(The Indiana Department of Transportation) was busy in 2020 with construction zone work areas that spanned across the I-70 corridor running from the east side of Indianapolis to the Ohio state line. Troopers from Indiana and Ohio responded to numerous crashes, often time involving serious injuries and or fatalities,” an ISP spokesperson said in a media release.

“This three-week patrol will focus on violations which are known to be the primary contributing factors in crashes on Indiana roadways.”

In addition to distracted driving, ISP state troopers will focus on other violations during the blitz including following too close, excessive speed, left of center, driving while impaired, and unsafe lane movement.