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Ohio State Highway Patrol & ODOT announce distracted driving safety corridor

NEW PHILADELPHIA – Faced with a growing issue of distracted driving in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) have launched the longest distracted driving corridor in Ohio along interstates 70 and 470 in Belmont County. The corridor, which spans 20 miles of I-70 from mile marker 205 to the Ohio/West Virginia state line and 7 miles of I-470 from I-70 to the Ohio/West Virginia state line, is the newest location for targeted enforcement and increased signage reminding motorists to ditch the distractions and focus on the road.

“Distracted driving is happening at an alarming rate throughout Ohio, and corridors like this help remind drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their minds on driving,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “We continue to work with the Ohio General Assembly on legislative changes to make distracted driving a primary offense to help make our roadways safer.”

Last year in Ohio, there were 13,532 distracted driving-related crashes resulting in 48 fatalities, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“The dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone, but motorists still choose to participate in this dangerous behavior,” said Lieutenant Maurice Waddell, OSHP St. Clairsville Post commander. “The purpose of establishing this corridor is to bring further awareness, education, and enforcement to the problem of distracted driving.”

Over the last several weeks, ODOT crews have installed signs to alert drivers when they enter the corridor and warn there is zero tolerance when it comes to unsafe driving behaviors. Motorists should expect to see additional troopers in the corridor, as well as increased enforcement of the violations associated with these distracted driving crashes.

"The goal with this corridor is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, reduce crashes, and ultimately save lives. Distracted driving has to stop. Phones become a dangerous weapon when used behind the wheel. Choosing to drive distracted puts you and the lives around you at risk," said ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Tom Corey.

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 decreased by more than 30 percent.

Relevant statistics as well as a map of the new corridor can be found by clicking here.

The public is encouraged to use #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity. Additional crash information is available from the OSTATS dashboard.