Distracted Driving blitz in Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio (WTVG) - 268 -- that's the number of people killed in Ohio in distracted driving crashes in the last five years. The Findlay Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department are teaming up to try to reduce that statistic.

Last year in Hancock County alone, state troopers say there were nearly 100 traffic crashes due to distracted driving. One was fatal, more than 32 resulted in injuries and all are preventable.

State troopers see it all of the time. Even 13abc caught a guy red handed just last week driving down I-75 North with his phone in his hand and eyes off the road.

"Yep, I'm guilty. I have done it. So, you forget where you passed because you were on your phone," said another driver, Jenny Saalman.

Troopers estimate texting takes a driver's eyes off the road for about five seconds. So, if you were driving 55 mph, you'd go the length of an entire football field just in the time it took you type up a text.

"There is no excuse," said Findlay Highway Patrol trooper Zachary Gossard.

Gossard has seen first hand how dangerous distracted driving is in both serious injury and fatal crashes.

"That's the kind of stuff that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life," he said.

In the last five years, statistics show there's been more distracted driving related crashes than OVI and drug related crashes combined.

"It's a problem statewide and nationwide because of this addiction to technology, reliance on our cell phones and to be connected, so it is a problem and it's getting more and more dangerous because of it," said Gossard.

That's why this week the Findlay post and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department are teaming up to crack down on distracted drivers.

"You might be jeopardizing somebody else’s life," said driver Tremell Foster.

The Hancock County Sheriff's Department and the Findlay post will be out in full force on this distracted driving blitz through Sunday.