April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol and their Chillicothe Post is reminding drivers to keep their eyes and focus on the roadway while driving.
Last year, 13,997 crashes in Ohio had a reported distraction, resulting in 51 fatal crashes. From 2016 to 2017, the number of fatal crashes due to distracted drivers nearly doubled.
“Every time someone takes their eyes or their off the road - even for just a few seconds - they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said Lt. Tim Karwatske, Commander of the Chillicothe Post. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”
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 at 55 mph.
Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers as a secondary offense.
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.