Distracted driving incidents on the decline in Ohio following new law

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, alongside officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO), a division of The Ohio Department of Public Safety, are pleased with recent data indicating that the state’s strengthened distracted driving law is yielding positive results on Ohio’s roadways.

“Ohio’s new law went into effect a little over a month ago, and it’s already making a difference,” Governor DeWine affirmed. “I’m glad to see that Ohio drivers are making safety a priority and putting their phones down while they drive.”

The latest report from Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), the world’s largest telematics service provider, presents compelling evidence that Ohio drivers are now dedicating less time to handling their phones while driving, thanks to the law’s implementation on April 4, 2023. The legislation deems it illegal in most circumstances for drivers to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device while operating a vehicle. Additionally, the violation is now classified as a primary offense, granting officers the authority to immediately pull over any driver observed committing a violation.

Analyzing CMT’s data, a noteworthy 9.1% reduction in distracted driving incidents has been observed across Ohio since April 4. This decrease has effectively prevented 540 crashes, one fatality, and an estimated $13 million in economic damages. In March, Ohio drivers spent an average of 1 minute and 39 seconds interacting with their phones for every hour of driving. However, from April 4 through May 3, the data indicates a decline, with Ohio drivers using their phones for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds while behind the wheel, marking a 9-second reduction.

The findings from CMT’s analysis offer encouraging news for Ohio’s road safety advocates and policymakers. The success of the strengthened distracted driving law demonstrates its efficacy in curbing dangerous behaviors and fostering a safer driving environment. As Ohio drivers increasingly prioritize safety and compliance with the law, the positive impact is expected to continue.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Traffic Safety Office commend the efforts of Ohio drivers in adhering to the new legislation, emphasizing the critical importance of responsible driving practices. The collaboration between law enforcement, state agencies, and the public remains crucial in promoting safe roadways for all motorists.

The positive outcomes revealed by CMT’s data reinforce the value of proactive measures aimed at minimizing distracted driving incidents. Ohio’s commitment to road safety sets a precedent for other states grappling with similar concerns, encouraging them to explore and implement effective strategies to combat distracted driving.

Governor DeWine and Ohio’s transportation and public safety leaders will continue to monitor the ongoing impact of the strengthened law and work diligently to ensure the well-being of all Ohioans on the state’s roads.