Texting and driving a deadly combination

By Frank Lewis

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Accidents and deaths caused by texting and driving and the general use of the cellular phone while driving is on the upswing and the Ohio State Highway Patrol focused on distracted driving in the last 6-State Trooper Project, issuing 14 citations for texting or cell phone violations and 999 citations for reckless or careless driving.

The initiative began Sunday, July 19 and ended Saturday, July 25.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol joined the Indiana State Police, Kentucky State Police, Michigan State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and West Virginia State Police.

“With a combination of enforcement and education, we aim to decrease texting and driving on Ohio’s roadways, which prevents crashes and saves lives,” Colonel Paul Pride, Patrol superintendent, said.

Numbers from 2014 speak for themselves. People texting or reading texts are 23 percent more likely to get into a car accident.

The Department of Transportation reports cell phones are involved in some 1.6 million automobile-related accidents annually — which cause some 500,000 injuries and leads to the deaths of some 6,000 each year. A University of Utah study showed that the reaction time of a teenage driver who is using his or her cellphone is the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using one. Statistics show texting or reading a text typically takes about 4.6 seconds. If you’re driving 65 mph that equates to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

The 6-State Trooper Project is a multi-state law enforcement partnership aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing. It includes the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Kentucky State Police, Indiana State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, West Virginia State Police and the Michigan State Police.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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