New Philadelphia, Ohio - Local State Highway Patrol troopers are urging people to pay attention when they get behind the wheel.
New Philadelphia Post Commander Lt. Mark Glennon says they will be reiterating their anti-distracted message throughout the month of April for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. He says they want to warn people about what can happen when they take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds.
"Sending and receiving a text message takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, and this is the equivalent of traveling the length of an entire football field at 55 miles per hour, so just imagine what could happen in that amount of time at that speed and that distance by taking your eyes off the roadway," he says.
Glennon says though that cell phones are far from the only culprit.
"It can range from anywhere from cell phones, from tv’s, from books, from makeup, food, anything that’s just gonna take your eyes off the roadway," he says. "Every time that someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road, even just for a few seconds, they put their lives and the lives of other people in danger."
Glennon says people can also be cited for distracted driving under a new state law that passed last October.
"What that did is it creates an enhanced penalty that applies to a person who commits a specific moving violation while they’re distracted. If the distraction was a contributing factor to the commission of the violation, it adds an additional $100 fine to the moving violation," he says.
Glennon says distracted driving caused 13,727 crashes, 47 fatalities and more than 4,600 injuries statewide in 2018.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV