(WYTV) – The Ohio Turnpike and the Ohio State Highway Patrol have launched a distracted driving safety initiative along a nearly 30-mile stretch of the turnpike.
The initiative begins Monday and will end Wednesday, March 31.
The section is being designated as a Distracted Driving Enforcement Zone. It will span across Cuyahoga, Summit and Portage counties between mileposts 165.1 to 191.6 in both the east and westbound lanes.
“Our top priority is safety and this effort will help us reduce crashes and make people think twice before driving while distracted,” said Ferzan M. Ahmed, P.E., executive director. “We appreciate this partnership with the Highway Patrol and their enforcement work to discourage distracted driving.”
Drivers will see more troopers and signs in this zone in an effort to reduce crashes and raise awareness.
Statewide from 2019 to 2020, there were 24,489 crashes involving distracted driving. Of those, 8,654 ended in injuries and 70 were deadly.
“Driving distracted is unsafe, irresponsible and its consequences can be devastating for families,” said Staff Lieutenant William Haymaker, Highway Patrol turnpike liaison. “The purpose of establishing this zone 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, such as taking eyes off the road, manual, like taking hands off the wheel, or cognitive, such as taking the mind off the task of driving.
Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.
Drivers are encouraged to use #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity.