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Patrol reminds drivers to keep eyes, focus on road

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol are reminding drivers to keep their eyes and their focus on the roadway while driving.

Last year, 51 people lost their lives and more than 6,800 were injured in Ohio as a result of distracted driving crashes. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field when traveling at 55 mph.

“National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is the perfect time to make the commitment to yourself and to your family to eliminate distractions, such as cell phones, while you drive,” said DeWine.

“Every time someone takes their eyes off the road — even for just a few seconds — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said Lt. Nick Lunsford, Commander of the Ironton Post. “Distracted driving is unsafe and irresponsible. In a split second, its consequences can be devastating.”

On Oct. 29, 2018, Ohio passed House Bill 95, a law which broadened what is considered distracted driving and increased the fine if it was a contributing factor to the commission of the driving violation.

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

Distractions can be visual, taking eyes off of the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; or cognitive, taking the mind off driving. Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.

As a reminder, Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers and is a secondary offense for adults 18 and above.