ODOT promoting safe driving practices at Belmont County Fair next week as Ohio’s new texting ban goes into effect
New Philadelphia, Ohio (Tuesday, August 28, 2012) – Effective this Thursday, August 30th, it is illegal and a primary offense for anyone under age 18 to use a mobile communications device while driving in Ohio.
This means no texting, e-mailing, cell phone, video games, iPad/tablet or handheld GPS use while driving, even when sitting at a light or in a traffic jam. If caught, the police can pull you over. Adult drivers will face a $150 fine for the secondary offense of texting.
As part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” comprehensive roadway safety campaign, ODOT District 11 is presenting the Distracted Driver Simulator at the Belmont County Fair, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4th and running through Sunday, Sept. 9th.
Distracted Driving is an epidemic on America’s roadways. 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 it’s now against the law. You could pay a fine and lose your license… or lose your life.”
The public is encouraged to come test the Distracted Driver Simulator between noon and 8:30 p.m. next week at the Belmont County Fair. It 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. It doesn’t take long before the driver makes an error and is involved in a crash that results in realistic simulated interactions with police, medical staff and a judge.
Safety is ODOT’s number one priority. 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