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ODOT, AAA and the Ohio State Highway Patrol renew call to stop distracted driving

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Phil Medlen is an ODOT worker in Northeast Ohio.

He knows firsthand the consequences distracted driving can have on someone.

“We want to go home to our families too,” said Medlen.

Two years ago, his life changed when his work truck was hit by someone who was on their phone.

“I have a bulging disc in my neck and pinched nerve in my shoulder and other issues with my shoulder,” said Medlen.

He says unfortunately too many people, like ODOT workers and first responders, are either injured or killed because of distracted driving.

On Thursday, he joined forces with ODOT, AAA, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol to urge you to pay attention while on the road.

“If it saves a life or helps get the message out there... if it helps somebody I did my part I guess,” said Medlen.

According to Sergeant Ray Santiago with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there have been more than 64,000 crashes in Ohio due to distracted driving since 2017.

Tragically, more than 200 people were killed in those wrecks.

“Anytime you’re doing anything that takes your attention away from driving, you’re distracted, and you are putting a lot of people in danger,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago from Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Now that the weather is warming up, more workers are going to be out on the road doing construction or filling potholes.

Medlen has this message for you before you put your car in drive.

“Hang it up, move over, slow down, we’re out there trying to help you,” said Medlen.

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