CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The Ohio Highway Patrol says several recent incidents illustrate the importance of the state’s new distracted driving law, which goes into effect next month.
On Sunday, an OSHP dash cam captured what appeared to be a close call for a soldier as a distracted driver drove left of downtown and nearly collided with his cruiser in Putnam County.
The soldier caught up with the car, and the driver admitted that a problem with his mobile phone was to blame for the close collision.
In the video, a soldier asked, “Hey, what’s the problem?”
The driver replied, “Oh, it was entirely my fault, I dropped the phone, I followed him and put my knee on the steering wheel.”
The soldier referred to the Michigan man for riding left of center.
Highway Patrol says the incident shows how easily drivers can get distracted.
There have been 62,000 distracted driving accidents in Ohio since 2018, a number OSHP believes is an underestimate.
“A few seconds to write a text or read a text, you do not look at the roadway, and in those few seconds you can cover the length of a football field and not even notice it,” said the sergeant. Ryan Purple.
During another emergency stop related to distracted driving, a soldier stopped a tractor-trailer in Bukirus after noticing that the driver was crossing two lanes of the highway.
The driver admitted that he paid more attention to the connection with his surveillance cameras at home than to the road in front of him.
On the video from the soldier’s body camera, he asked, “Did you watch your cameras at home? The truck driver replied, “Yes.”
The soldier then said, “While you are driving? It’s distracted driving.”
In response to such incidents, a new distracted driving law goes into effect in Ohio on April 4.
The new law gives law enforcement officers the ability to stop drivers if police officers see that they are illegally using mobile phones or other electronic devices.
According to Sgt. Purpura: “You can’t hold your cell phone in your hand, you can’t speak on the speakerphone, you can’t use your body to support this device and talk on the phone, you can’t enter data manually, you can’t send text messages. without entering a phone number.
But there will be exceptions in the new law. Drivers will be allowed to hold their phones to their ears during phone calls, use devices at red lights and report emergencies. Once the new law goes into effect, there will be a six-month grace period during which law enforcement will issue warnings to educate drivers and try to kick some bad habits. “Every time you get behind the wheel, just to eliminate that distraction, put down your cell phone, electronic device, and focus on driving.”
Here is a link that explains more about the new law.