LANCASTER - In just nine months since it was established, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) have seen the positive impact of the distracted driving safety corridor along U.S. Route 33 in Fairfield County.
This 12-mile stretch of U.S. 33 between the Fairfield/Franklin County Line and SR 188 was designated as a distracted driving safety corridor in July 2020 in response to an alarming trend of distracted driving violations and crashes along the route.
“The purpose of this corridor is to educate motorists on the dangers of driving distracted,” said Sergeant Timothy Bullock, Assistant Commander of the Lancaster Post. “There is nothing more important than staying focused on driving to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers and other motorists – everything else can wait.”
Since its implementation, OSHP Troopers have significantly increased enforcement on U.S. 33, resulting in fewer crashes and fatalities. From July 2020 through April 2021, the Patrol has seen a decrease in crashes of 44 percent and a decrease in fatalities of 61 percent as compared the same timeframe the previous year.
With more orange barrels popping up on Central Ohio roadways, the call to drop the distractions and pay attention behind the wheel is especially important.
"Driving always requires your full attention, but work zones demand drivers to be especially alert," said ODOT District 5 Deputy Director Jason Sturgeon. "Things can change quickly in a work zone, so anything that takes your attention from the road puts the lives of our workers - and other drivers - at risk."
Despite lower traffic volumes in 2020 due to the pandemic, there were 4,540 work zone crashes across the state.
As Distracted Driving Awareness month comes to an end, ODOT and OSHP are teaming up to remind motorists to keep their eyes (and attention) on the road and their hands on the wheel. Distracted driving is not only irresponsible, but it's also dangerous - to roadside workers and drivers alike.
VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
Interview footage from yesterday's media event available here.