U.S. Route 33 in Fairfield County
JACKSONTOWN – Last year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) reported there were 13,505 distracted driving related crashes in Ohio resulting in 42 fatalities. This alarming statistic is why the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has partnered with OSHP to designate a second distracted driving safety corridor in Central Ohio. A 12-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 in Fairfield County will be the newest location for targeted enforcement and increased signage to remind motorists to ditch the distractions.
“Establishing this corridor is right in line with Governor DeWine’s mission to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable and we need motorists to understand the impact of their choices.”
From 2016-2018, there were 400 crashes along the U.S. 33 corridor from the Franklin County Line to State Route 188 and one out of every 10 crashes involved a distracted driver. The corridor also had at least 17 distracted driving violations per mile in 2018, while some sections had more than 30 violations per mile.
“The goal of this effort is save lives, continue to raise awareness about the dangers of driving distracted, and ultimately influence driver behavior,” said District 5 Deputy Director Jason Sturgeon. “We hope this corridor will remind drivers to keep their hands on the wheel instead of on their phone.”
This week, ODOT crews began installing signs to alert drivers when they enter the corridor and warn there is zero tolerance when it comes to unsafe driving behaviors. Motorists should also expect increased enforcement by OSHP.
“If you choose to drive distracted, you are putting yourself and other motorists in danger. Make your safety and the safety of others a priority,” said Lancaster Post Commander Lt. Shad Caplinger. “There have been 417 distracted driving related crashes in Fairfield County since 2018. Be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Distracted driving safety corridors have proven effective in other areas of the state, most notably the state’s first safety corridor along I-76 and I-80 in Youngstown where deadly and injury crashes are down 30 percent since implementation.
Last month, ODOT established the first distracted driving safety corridor in Central Ohio along Interstate 71 in Delaware and Morrow Counties.