Troopers cracking down after distracted driving increase over New Year holiday

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers to put down the phones and anything else that can take their attention off the road.

With distracted driving up 85 percent compared to last New Year holiday, troopers are cracking down.

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“We’d like that number to come way down,” said Trooper Sheldon Goodrum.

OSHP is telling motorists to pay attention or pay up.

“We issue warning or citations whenever appropriate,” Goodrum said.

Anything that takes your attention off the road could qualify as distracted driving, he explained.

“Talking on the phone, sending a text message,” Goodrum said. “Changing the playlist on your phone or dealing with the kids in the back. All those things could be considered distracted.”

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Not only is distracted driving illegal, it’s also dangerous.

“Distracted driving causes crashes,” Goodrum said.

Audie Trinkle is a truck driver. He said distracted driving makes it difficult for him on the road.

“It’s hard to stop,” said Trinkle. “It’s hard to maneuver those things. Especially with the construction that they have on (Interstate) 70 here.”

He had this warning for people behind the wheel: “It only takes seconds to get stuck under the tires of a truck. You may or may not come back home.”

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Authorities across Ohio are urging drivers to be disciplined.

“Whatever you can do so that your attention is solely on the road, whatever that means, that’s what we want you to do,” Goodrum said.