Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio Department of Transportation partnered Thursday to roll out a distracted driving safety corridor plan on Interstate 75 in Allen County.
This 20-mile stretch of highway will be designated with signage that informs motorists of the dangers of driving distracted and of increased law enforcement presence. The signs note: “Strict Enforcement Speeding and Distracted Driving,” “Next 20 Miles Zero Tolerance,” “Entering Distracted Driving Safety Corridor,” “This Could Be Your Last Text” and “Safety Corridor.”
“Within a three-year period, over 400 crashes occurred within the segment of I-75 that the distracted driving corridor occupies now. The crashes resulted in three fatalities and nearly 80 injuries,” said Captain John Altman of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Examining the crash statistics over a three-year period illustrated the need for a distracted driving corridor to be established in this area of I-75, according to Altman. Distracted driving includes taking one or both hands off the steering wheel, looking at a phone or GPS device, or speaking with passengers and talking on a cellphone.
In 2018, there were 13,727 crashes in Ohio that involved distracted driving.
Troopers will be patroling the area heavily to enforce laws regarding speeding, seat belt usage and impaired driving. In the corridor, zero tolerance will be given to those caught speeding or driving while distracted.
The corridor is the second of its kind to be implemented in northwest Ohio. The first in the region was installed on U.S. 6 in Henry, Wood and Sandusky counties. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day of 2019, more than 2,500 traffic stops were performed and over 1,200 citations were given.
The stretch of I-75 in Allen and Hancock counties has been designated for increased enforcement.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.