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Ohio fights distracted driving with facts, new data dashboard

Woman eating and holding a to-go cup while driving.

Last year was the most deadly on record for Ohio’s roadways.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said car accidents soared in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This isn’t just a Buckeye problem. Across the nation, traffic accidents spiked last year even though people were staying home due to the economic lockdown. Many people saw fewer cars on the road as an invitation to drive recklessly.

Among the top contributing factors to car, truck, and motorcycle accidents is distracted driving, DeWine said. To address this issue the State Highway Patrol has launched a new awareness campaign and crash tracker – the Distracted Driving Dashboard.

The new dashboard is part of the state’s Statistics and Analytics for Traffic Safety (OSTATS), an effort to improve public awareness of and access to crash data. The program gives drivers a “front seat view” of what Ohio Troopers do every day to stop accidents, the governor said.

Ohio distracted driving law

In Ohio, distracted driving is defined as engaging in any activity that is not necessary to operate a vehicle that also impairs, or reasonably would be expected to impair, the safe operation of the vehicle. Examples of driving distractions include talking and texting on cell phones, eating and grooming.

Since 2016, there have been more than 71,500 crashes due to distracted driving in Ohio – more than 2,000 of which caused serious injuries or death.

Ohio’s distracted driving laws include:

  • No one under the age of 18 may use an electronic wireless communications device while driving – not even in hands-free mode.
  • Drivers under 18 may only use their phones in emergency situations to call the police or an ambulance, for example.
  • Teens guilty of texting and driving can have their licenses suspended for up to 60 days and be fined up to $150. The penalties are more severe for a second offense.
  • For adults, a distracted-driving violation can result in a fine of up to $150.  To avoid the fine, a driver may take a qualifying distracted driving course instead.
  • Adults may use handheld devices to communicate while driving. However, many cities and towns have handheld device bans. For the most part in these communities, you may use the equipment while operating a vehicle if it is in hands-free mode.
  • Using a GPS system is fine.

Cuyahoga County and Cleveland car accidents

Cuyahoga County experiences more distracted driving accidents than almost anywhere else in the state, outside of Franklin County, which includes Columbus.

So far this year, Cuyahoga County has experienced about 465 distracted driving-related accidents. Of these crashes, more than 170 resulted in suspected injuries, according to the Distracted Driving Dashboard.

The Cuyahoga County routes with the most distracted driving crashes this year are:

  • SR-10 — 15 distracted driving crashes so far in 2021
  • SR-176 — 14 crashes
  • US-322 — 14
  • SR-82 — 12

Overall, the intersections where the most crashes occurred in 2021 include:

  • Woodland Avenue at East 55th Street
  • Mayfield Road at Som Center Road, the Outerbelt Freeway, and Golden Gate Boulevard
  • Ridge Park Square
  • State Road at Brookpark Road

A legal team that is on your side

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in Ohio, but it’s not the only factor. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident in the Greater Cleveland area it is important that you understand your rights.

When people are harmed by the negligence of others, they almost always deserve compensation for their injuries and losses. Among the types of damages you can claim after an accident are medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning potential, pain and suffering, car repairs, loss of enjoyment, disability equipment, and future treatments that could be lifelong commitments.

Merriman Legal, LLC, has been aggressively fighting to protect the rights of injured people for years. Car accidents are personal for us.

Dedicated to Cleveland

Founding attorney Tom Merriman and his family had their lives turned upside down when 12-year-old daughter Kiki was hit by a car while out riding her bicycle. She underwent numerous surgeries and is still working to regain her health and quality of life today. A Cleveland native, attorney Merriman understands what is at stake when you’re battling the insurance companies for fair compensation.

Merriman Legal, LLC, does not settle for anything less than the best outcome for your claim. If the insurance companies don’t want to make you a decent offer, we are more than ready to take them to court.

Our law firm offers free case evaluations to car accident victims and their families. During one of these sessions, our legal team will listen to you explain the details of what happened. You will have the opportunity to explain how it has impacted your life. We can start planning a winning strategy for you right away.

Call or email Merriman Law Firm, LLC, in Cleveland, and get started on getting the most out of your claim today.

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