The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be joining forces with local law enforcement for a national distracted driving enforcement blitz beginning Thursday and lasting through Tuesday. It's an effort to reduce distracted driving related crashes and raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving creates.
This initiative is part of a campaign created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their effort to curb distracted driving behaviors nationwide.
Sgt. Vincent Shirey says troopers will be focusing on crash causing violations that may be caused by distracted driving.
"That would include aggressive driving, marked lanes violations, following too closely and driving left of center. Of course they will also be enforcing Ohio’s texting and driving law," he said.
Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent, at 55 mph, of driving the length of an entire football field. Last year there were more than 3,000 crashes and 16 fatalities tied to distracted driving.
Ohio law treats texting while driving like wearing your seat belt. It's a secondary violation for adults, meaning you must be seen violating another traffic law to be pulled over for it. For teens, the texting law makes a violation something they can be stopped for.
"As of late February, 2014 the Highway Patrol has issued well over 200 citations for distracted driving," said Shirey.
The penalty for violating the texting law vary from court to court, according to Shirey.