VAN WERT – The Ohio State Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation, will be launching a distracted driving safety corridor on U.S. 30 in Van Wert County.
The section of U.S. 30 between Klinger Road and the Stripe Road overpass is being designated as a distracted driving safety corridor. From 2015 through 2019, this section of U.S. 30 had 336 crashes resulting in six fatalities and 76 injuries.
“When we looked at the statistics behind the crashes we found a lot of it had to do with distracted behavior, whether it’s failure to yield, following too close, or speeding," Lieutenant Jon Gray, Van Wert Post commander, said.
Last year in Ohio, 48 people lost their lives and 7,200 were injured in 13,532 crashes as a result of distracted driving. 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 55 mph.
“Out here on U.S. 30, you are traveling at 70 miles an hour or over 100 feet per second," noted Grey. "Every three seconds, you have traveled the length of a football field.”
“The dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone, but motorists still choose to participate in this dangerous behavior,” Gray continued. “The purpose of establishing this safety corridor is to bring further awareness, enforcement, 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, 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.
This designation means motorists will see both an increased presence of troopers and ODOT signage within this area in an effort to reduce crashes.
“Distracted driving safety corridor signage will be erected in the corridor to remind motorists to eliminate distractions while behind the wheel,” said Chris Hughes, ODOT District One Deputy Director. “Similar safety corridors have been established across the state and have been found to be effective.”
Gray concluded by saying the Patrol hopes this designation will lead to a drop in the number and severity of crashes. “We continue to work on ways to make it a safer roadway to drive,” he said.
The public is encouraged to use #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity. Additional crash information is available from the OSTATS dashboard at: https://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/ostats.aspx#gsc.tab=0