ODOT, Patrol announce distracted driving safety corridor

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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2020
Contact: Sergeant Ryan E. Purpura (419) 352-2481
ODOT Public Information Officer Rhonda Pees (419) 373-7121

ODOT, Patrol announce distracted driving safety corridor

Stretch of I-75 in Allen, Hancock counties designated for increased enforcement

LIMA-  The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol held an event today to announce the establishment of a distracted driving safety corridor on Interstate 75 in Allen and Hancock counties.

The event was held at the southbound rest area on I-75, south of Findlay.

A section of I-75 from south of the village of Beaverdam in Allen County, to the rest areas in Hancock County, south of the city of Findlay, is being designated as a distracted driving safety corridor by a series of signs which warn of the dangers of driving distracted. The signs are currently being installed in both the northbound and southbound directions.

The signs will notify motorists they are entering the corridor and there is zero tolerance for unsafe driving behaviors. Law enforcement will be patrolling the corridor frequently and conducting traffic stops when violations are observed. Signs are also being placed at each interchange so motorists entering the corridor mid-point are alerted.

“Distracted driving is occurring at an alarming rate throughout Ohio,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Corridors like this will remind drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. In addition, we are working on legislative changes to make distracted driving a primary offense in order to make our roads safer,” he said.

Captain John C. Altman, Ohio State Highway Patrol Findlay District commander, said the dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone, but motorists still choose to participate in this type of behavior. The purpose in establishing this distracted driving safety corridor is to bring further awareness and education to the problem of distracted driving, while addressing it through traffic enforcement.

“Examining the crash statistics over a three-year period illustrated the need for a distracted driving safety corridor to be established in this area of I-75,” Captain Altman said. “This need was highlighted by the fact that there were more than 400 crashes during this period, with three of those resulting in fatalities, and nearly 80 where motorists were injured."

The I-75 corridor is the second distracted driving safety corridor established in northwest Ohio. A corridor was placed on U.S. 6 in Wood, Sandusky and Henry counties in 2018.

"Adding more signage may seem to be an added distraction. But similar corridors established in crash-prone areas elsewhere in the state have proven to be effective," said Chris Hughes, deputy director for ODOT District 1. "This stretch of I-75 is unremarkable in terrain, which is why we think motorists are tempted to engage in other distracting activities while driving," said Hughes.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol will continue to identify and establish distracted driving safety corridors to ensure the safety of all motorists who traverse Ohio’s roadways.

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