Multi-state project to focus on distracted driving

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Six state trooper agencies are working together to crack down on distracted driving as part of a week-long initiative.

MGN Online

The high-visibility enforcement will include troopers in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, as well as Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

In 2018, 51 people died in Ohio because of crashes from distracted driving. An additional 6,800 were injured.

Troopers say 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.

"By driving distracted, you are putting yourself and the lives of others at risk," said Colonel Richard S. Fambro. "Every time someone takes their eyes off the road – even for just a split second, its consequences can be devastating."

Ohio lawmakers have also been working to enforce harsher penalties on distracted driving. In October, a state law passed that 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 defined as any non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

Examples of distracted driving are taking your eyes off of the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and even taking your mind off driving.

Troopers say texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.