SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — While driving on Interstate 77 between State Route 18 and State Route 21 in Northern Summit County, you may notice things look a little bit different.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol tells News 5 it’s in an effort to keep you safe.
“We’re just trying to raise awareness, increase education so that folks don’t have to make this relevant through tragedy,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Ray Santiago.
What Santiago is referring to involves a new initiative to alert drivers they’re entering a distracted driving safety corridor, and that consequences will follow if you’re not obeying the law.
“Those signs are there for a reason,” said Santiago. “We’re trying to positively affect this crash causing violation.”
In the end, drivers like Bill Allen say they will feel safer.
“I love them. I don’t have all the computers, and I’m not too smart with the computers but these things are very helpful,” Allen said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation unveiled new signs on Wednesday after completing data analysis in this region.
“From 2019 to 2022, this section of Interstate 77 had 755 crashes, resulting in 198 injuries and four fatalities. Distracted driving was identified (in) 30 of those crashes,” said OSHP Akron Post Commander Lieutenant Johnathan Ganley.
Across the state, ODOT says these numbers are even more startling.
“Last year, there were over 255,000 crashes on Ohio roadways, with 1,129 fatalities. Of those numbers, over 10,000 crashes and 31 fatalities involved distracted driving,” said ODOT District 4 Deputy Director Gery Noirot.
But with additional signage and increased patrol presence, the two agencies hope to address this growing problem.
“It’s too bad that someone like myself, a civilian citizen can’t take a license number down and report them because I will, and I would,” said Allen.
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