Distracted driving is on the rise in Ohio. For proof of that, one must only drive by the Chardon post of the Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP), where Sergeant Daniel Jesse’s patrol car sits, or at least what’s left of it. This reminder to take distracted driving more seriously is the result of a collision with an alleged drunk driver, who was also suspected of distracted driving.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
There are still some people unfamiliar with the term of distracted driving, even though it’s something most of them do every time they get into a car. Essentially, distracted driving is anything a driver does that takes his or her eyes, hands, or attention away from the duties of driving an automobile. While this includes everything from brushing one’s hair to fidgeting with the radio, it has evolved to include using electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets.
The number of distracted drivers on the road has risen by 39% in Ohio alone, which is a great cause for concern. In fact, the OHP is endorsing a campaign against this practice, touting “If you’re distracted, you’re not driving” as their slogan. The concern isn’t just for private citizens either. Three state troopers have been struck on three separate occasions in distracted driving-related incidents over the past few months, proof that the problem is affecting everyone.
Cell Phone Use is Becoming the Top Distraction
It’s not there yet, but OHP Sgt. Jeremy Kindler says he predicts cell phone usage will soon be the top distraction on the road, overtaking the current reigning distraction of talking with a passenger. Eating and drinking creates another big distraction, reports the OHP, who recently compiled a list of the top distractions among drivers. Singing, dancing, smoking, and adjusting the radio and climate controls also ranked high.
Cell Phone Use While Driving in Ohio
In Ohio, distracted driving is considered a secondary offense, meaning the driver has to be violating another law as a result of the distraction. For instance, one who swerves into the next lane while checking Facebook could be cited for both. Although this is true, troopers are still keeping their eyes peeled for distracted drivers on Ohio’s highways.
“What we do, if we observe them on the phone is continue to monitor what they are doing, and I don’t care who you are if you take your eyes off the road for more than a few seconds you are going to start to drive off the road and commit other violations,” Kindler said.” When that happens, we are going to make the traffic stop, and we are going to educate you. Then you are going to move on, and hopefully, you never do it again.”
City police are getting stricter when enforcing laws that seem to imply rules against distracted driving. Many cities and towns require drivers to give their “full time and attention” to the task of driving. These kinds of laws provide officers with more freedom to pull over distracted drivers. The driver may not always receive a citation, but he or she will receive an educational lecture and a stern warning.
If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of a distracted driver, be sure to reach out to an attorney who can help you recover maximum compensation. Ohio Accident Attorneys has the resources to connect you with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.