OSP joins 6-state project to crack down on distracted driving

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Friday it is joining forces with other members of the 6-State Trooper Project to focus on distracted driving enforcement.

The initiative is set to begin on Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m. and will continue through Monday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m.

The high-visibility enforcement will include the Indiana State Police, Kentucky State Police, Michigan State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the West Virginia State Police, as well as OSHP.

From 2016 through 2020, distracted driving resulted in 212 lives lost on Ohio’s roadways, according state data.

Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field when traveling at 55 mph.

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“By driving distracted, you are putting yourself and the lives of others at risk,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro. “Every time someone takes their eyes off the road – even for just a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”

On October 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 considered 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.

The Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary Matt Bruning said, “So we’ve actually installed more than a dozen of these corridors across the state of Ohio in recent years and what the idea is, is to really help focus attention on the scourge that is distracted driving. We work with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to identify where the best locations for these are.  They do stepped-up enforcement, we install the signs reminding drivers that distracted driving is a bad thing and they need to put the phones down.”

The 6-State Trooper Project is a multi-state law enforcement partnership aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing.

Lt. Geoffrey Freeman, Dayton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which services Montgomery and Preble counties, provided the follow stats:

* Speed-related citations along Interstate 75 in Montgomery County from March 1, 2019 through March 29, 2021

o 629 crashes

o 2 fatal crashes

o 4,371 speeding tickets

* Distracted driving citations

o 94 crashes

o 1 fatal crash

o 160 citations

Motorists are urged to use #677 to report dangerous and impaired drivers, along with drug activity.