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Expanded distracted driving ban aims to address Ohio’s problem

The state passed legislation expanding the ban on distracted driving beyond just texting while driving. When Ohio police officers pull over drivers, they can ticket those drivers for distracted driving behaviors like talking on the phone, putting on makeup or anything else that takes their eyes off the road. The law goes into effect in late October, and offenders must pay up to a $100 fine or enroll in a distracted driving course.

In 2017, the Ohio State Highway Patrol stated that distracted driving caused nearly 14,000 crashes and 52 of those crashes were fatal.

Signs installed warn of distracted driving dangers

The state also enacted other measures to address the distracted driving epidemic. According to the Cleveland Scene, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) installed 50 signs along a 17 mile length of I-76 and I-80 that warn drivers of the danger of distracted driving.

From 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles drive on these highways each day. Although the roads are flat and relatively distraction free, many accidents occur on these highways each year.

Highway patrol claims signs have reduced crashes

Since the sign’s installation, the highway patrol states total crashes are down 38 percent compared to the same time last year. Crashes resulting in death or injury are down 47 percent. However, the number of distracted driving violations has increased by 320 percent.

ODOT changes the signs every three months to prevent drivers from ignoring the safe driving messages. If the program is deemed a success, the signs may be rolled out to other high traffic parts of the state.

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