Ohio Highway Patrol introduces new dashboard, helps crack down on distracted driving

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 8:56 PM EDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - When you hear a buzz or ring while driving, for many it’s tempting to pick up the phone and see what’s going on.

However, it’s those few seconds of taking your eyes off the road that could mean the difference between life and death.

“Out of these twenty cars that we’re looking at, there’s probably at least a handful of them on their phones right now,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Stump said while parked at a red light along U.S. 52.

Drivers taking their eyes off the road and onto a screen -- it’s a form of distracted driving that Stump says happens every day, on every road and highway.

“But [US] 52 is definitely probably as far as distracted driving, the worst road in Lawrence County anyway,” Stump said.

To help crack down, state troopers introduced a new online dashboard that pinpoints which roads have the most distracted driving related crashes and violations per county.

“We can focus on those areas to reduce the bad driving behaviors, the speed, the distracted driving, the crashes, whatever may be the problem in that area,” Stump said.

In counties such as Lawrence, Scioto, and Gallia, U.S. 52 and state Route 7 report the most distracted driving related violations and crashes.

For example, so far this year in Lawrence County, there have been 39 violations on U.S. 52 and three crashes on state Route 7.

It’s a resource that not only helps troopers.

“They can pull up the road they live on, even if it’s a county road, they can pull this information up and see how the crash volume has changed within the last five years say compared from 2016 to 2021,” Stump said.

Statewide, there have been more than 6,700 violations and more than 4,600 crashes-- all related to distracted driving so far this year.

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