ODOT’s “Distracted Driver Simulator Tour” stops at Carroll County Fair next week
New Philadelphia, Ohio (Thursday, July 12, 2012) – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 11 and Rinkes Insurance LLC, the Nationwide agent in Carrollton, have teamed up to present the Distracted Driver Simulator Tour at the Carroll County Fair next week, beginning Tuesday, July 17th and running through Sunday, July 22nd.
In 2011, ODOT launched the Distracted Driver Simulator Tour with funding assistance from Nationwide Insurance. The Distracted Driver Simulator Tour is part of ODOT’s comprehensive roadway safety campaign, “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” which provides Ohioans with information on how to use the roads safely – whether they get around on foot, by vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle.
The Distracted Driver Simulator features a computer-generated simulation of texting while driving. The setup includes a steering wheel, turn indicators, gas and brake pedals. After buckling up, the driver takes the wheel and tries to drive with distractions. The public is encouraged to come test drive the simulator next week between 1 and 9 p.m. at the Carroll County Fair.
Distracted Driving is an epidemic on America’s roadways. It is anything that takes your attention away from the road. Although there are many types of distractions, texting is one of the worst. It takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off driving. ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Lloyd MacAdam said, “Every day, drivers swerve, stop at green lights or run through stop signs, because their eyes and minds are on their phones instead of the road. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field blind. It’s very dangerous, and Ohio law now bans texting while driving. You could pay a fine and lose your license… or lose your life.”
Statewide, there are about 300,000 crashes each year including about 1,000 fatalities and 10,000 serious injuries. Crashes cost Ohioans nearly $13 billion a year. Rinkes Insurance agent Jon Rinkes said “We are excited to partner with ODOT on this very important safety initiative.”
Safety is ODOT’s number one priority. In 2011, Ohio law enforcement agencies reported 33 fatalities, 450 serious injuries and 12,823 crashes that were attributed specifically to distracted driving. Ohio’s goal is to reduce roadway fatalities five percent by 2015 – saving 150 lives. Many of today’s crashes could be prevented through increased safety awareness and safer driving practices.
Ohio’s highways are essential to keeping and creating new jobs. With a mission to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for maintaining one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Guided by ethical principles and accountability, ODOT works to improve safety, enhance travel and advance economic development. As a $2.8 billion enterprise, the department wisely invests in its core services of snow and ice removal, annual construction program and highway maintenance operations.
For more information, contact:
Becky Giauque \Jee-awg\, Public Information Officer, at (330) 308-3949
Lauren Holdsworth, Public Information Specialist, at (330) 308-7817
or email D11.PIO@dot.state.oh.us