LIMA — A distracted driving safety corridor on Interstate 75 in Allen and Hancock counties has proven effective in reducing traffic accidents and injuries, according to state transportation and law enforcement officials.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol held an event Tuesday to share the effectiveness of the corridor that runs from just south of the village of Beaverdam to the rest areas south of Findlay in Hancock County.
The distracted driving safety corridor was established in March of last year and is designated by a series of signs visible to both northbound and southbound traffic which warn of the dangers of driving distracted. The signs notify motorists they are entering the corridor and there is zero tolerance for unsafe driving behaviors.
“The purpose of the corridor is two-fold: educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving and make motorists aware of law enforcement’s intense focus on stopping it,” Lt. Tim Grigsby, commander of the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said in a prepared statement.
Although traffic counts overall remain lower due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crashes occurring given the traffic that remains have decreased.
“We attribute that to the corridor and the opportunity it provides to educate and enforce,” said Grigsby.
What remains prevalent is excessive speed, with many motorists choosing to travel more than 20 mph over the speed limit. Last month, an estimated 30 crashes on I-75 were attributed to speed, officials said.
Air patrol will be in the area this month and will be present during designated times.
“Overall, vehicular traffic remains below pre-pandemic levels and the temptation to speed on fairly open highways has persisted for the past year,” Grigsby said.
From January of 2019 through mid-April, an estimated 90 violations for distracted driving and more than 2,200 speed violations were issued within the corridor. During this same period, 386 crashes occurred, with two resulting in fatalities. For the previous three years, 400 crashes were recorded with three resulting in fatalities.
The distracted driving corridor on I-75 will remain in place as long as it produces results, officials said.
The I-75 corridor is the second distracted driving safety corridor established in northwest Ohio. A corridor was placed on U.S. 6 in Wood, Sandusky and Henry counties in 2018.