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Agencies partner to launch distracted driving safety corridor

YOUNGSTOWN — The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Youngstown Police Department and the Ohio Department of Transportation today announce the latest Distracted Driving Corridor to be launched in Mahoning County.

The patrol, in partnership with the Youngstown police and ODOT District 4 are taking steps to improve safety along a section of Interstate 680. The corridor is an 11 mile stretch between Lanterman Road and U.S. Route 224.

The purpose of this corridor is to continue to educate drivers on the importance of following distracted driving traffic laws and eliminating dangerous driving behaviors, the participants said.

This section will be clearly marked with new signage alerting motorists when they enter and exit the corridor. Motorists should expect increased patrols and enforcement by the patrol and Youngstown police.

From 2016 through 2020, there were 925 total crashes on this stretch of I-680, according to ODOT. Of those, 263 resulted in injury and six were fatal crashes. Distracted driving has been attributed to 27 of those crashes

Ohio law bans all “electronic wireless communication device” usage for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers, but only as a secondary offense

If distracted driving contributes to the commission of another moving violation, then enhanced penalties apply. These include an additional fee of $100 or attendance at a distracted driving safety course.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks, ODOT District 4 deputy director Gery Noirot, highway patrol Superintendent Colo. Richard Fambro and Youngstown Police Department Capt. Jason Simon were to make the announcement this morning at the state Route 164/ I-680 Park and Ride.

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