Highway Patrol, Hancock Co. Sheriff combine to combat distracted driving

FINDLAY, Ohio (WTVG) - The Findlay Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department are conducting an effort to combat distracted driving this week.

According to a press release, 95 traffic crashes last year in Hancock County were related to distracted driving, resulting in one death and more than 32 injuries.

Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver's eyes off the road of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while traveling at 55 mph.

“Every time someone takes their eyes off the road -- even for just a few seconds -- they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” Lt. Matthew Crow, Commander of the Findlay Post said. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”

Ohio passed House Bill 95 in October 2018, a law which broadened what is considered distracted driving and increased the fine if it was a contributing factor to the commission of the driving violation.

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.

As a reminder, Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers and is a secondary offense for adults 18 and above.

During the course of the distracted driving effort, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Hancock County Sherriff’s Department will also enforce Ohio’s mandatory seatbelt law, and other crash-causing violations.