Patrol partners with 10TV, Maria’s Message for distracted driving awareness


COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol has partnered with 10TV and the Maria Tiberi Foundation to bring awareness to distracted driving at the 2019 Ohio State Fair.

A driving simulator, which provides a realistic experience in a virtual environment on the dangers of being distracted, will be provided by Maria’s Message. The simulator will be in the Patrol’s booth, located in the Bricker Building, during the fair, which runs July 24 through Aug. 4.

“I encourage everyone, especially our young drivers, to take advantage of this opportunity to try out the Maria’s Message driving simulator at the fair,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Many teens think they are invincible, but this simulator will truly open the eyes of both teens and adults to how one moment of inattention behind the wheel can lead to tragedy.”

Last year, there were 13,727 crashes in Ohio that involved one or more drivers who were distracted by something in their vehicle. Of those crashes, 47 were fatal and resulted in 51 deaths. There were 4,634 injury crashes that led to 6,860 injuries.

In October 2018, Ohio passed a law to enhance the penalty for specific moving violations when the driver was distracted. Those who are found guilty can either pay a fee of $100 in addition to the fine for the moving violation or attend a distracted driving safety course.

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Distractions can be visual, taking eyes off of the road; manual, taking hands off the wheel; or cognitive, taking the mind off driving. Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.

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.