CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The month of April has been declared National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Local and national officials are reminding drivers to keep their eyes on the roadways.
The campaign comes after a fatal crash in Texas involving a church van that killed 13 people on March 29. Distracted driving is believed to be a factor in the cause of the crash.
Ohio law bans all electronic wireless communication devices usage for drivers under 18 years old. Additionally, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers as a secondary offense. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 13,994 crashes in Ohio last year that had a reported distraction, which has been defined as texting or talking on a cell phone, talking to passengers, eating, adjusting the radio, or using a navigation device. That total includes 26 fatal crashes. Statistics show that is a 5 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 in the number of distracted drivers.
The National Safety Council estimates more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. Cell phone use was the leading cause of those crashes.
Texting while driving takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. To put it into perspective, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field if traveling at 55 miles per hour.