The Ohio State Highway Patrol Reminds Drivers to Keep Eyes on the Road During National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Local News

MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio- ‘It can wait’ is the message the Ohio State Highway Patrol is promoting during this month’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, during the last five years, distracted driving led to over 63,000 crashes in Ohio and because drivers are sometimes won’t admit to distracted driving, the actual numbers of distracted driving crashes, injuries’ and deaths can be believed to be significantly higher.

Sergeant Jeffrey Jirles with the Zanesville Patrol, added that nearly one in three of these crashes involved drivers between the ages of 15 and 24.

“People that just generally get their license up to maybe age 24 so our focus is also on what we consider to be youthful drivers and that population also is very much in use with handheld devices, phones, text, that kind of thing, videos,” Sergeant Jirles stated.

He explained how a person can also be distracted while driving by just thinking of a bad or stressful situation that made them upset or angry.

“Our message is that it can wait and what we mean by that is, if it’s not an emergency, it can wait. It can wait until you can stop your car, it can wait until you can get to your next safe place to get off on the side of the highway,” Sergeant Jirles said.

When people hear of distracted driving, they immediately think of texting while driving, however, Sergeant Jirles listed other factors of distracted driving. 

“Distracted driving is generally associated with a cellphone. Maybe you’re on the phone or maybe you’re sending a text message to someone, but distracted driving can be more than that. It’s anything that takes your eyes away from the roadway and some of those things are other people in the car,” Sergeant Jirles said. “Maybe you’re having a conversation with someone in the passenger seat or in the back seat, maybe it’s eating. It can be any number of things. We’ve seen folks putting on make-up driving down the road.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is encouraging drivers to stop all driving while distracted, pull over to the side if they are too distracted or not in the right mindset.

As a reminder, Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers and is a secondary offense for adults 18 and older.

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Kailan Martin
Kailan is WHIZ’s Reporter/Anchor. She was born and raised in the Football Hall of Fame City, Canton, OH. Kailan graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Media Production and Analysis. Before coming to WHIZ-TV, she worked as a Multimedia Journalist and Production Assistant summer intern at WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. Kailan loves her position because it gives not only herself a voice, but the community as well. Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her huge family, creating fun YouTube videos, exercising and watching movies, and shows.