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Distracted Driving Safety Corridor launched along section of Interstate 77 in Stark and Summit counties

Three agencies have partnered on the safety initiative with the hope of bringing awareness and education to the problem of distracted driving.

CANTON, Ohio — A new Distracted Driving Safety Corridor initiative has been launched on I-77 between Faircrest Street and Wise Road in Stark and Summit counties this week.

The Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Canton Police Department have collaborated on the effort to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. The initiative begins Monday and will end on Friday, August 14.

"The dangers of distracted driving are apparent to everyone, but motorists still choose to participate in this dangerous behavior, said Lt. Leo Shirky, Canton Post commander. From 2018 through 2019, counties had nearly 2,000 crashes involving distracted driving, with 661 resulting in injuries and five fatalities. "The purpose of establishing this corridor is to bring further awareness and education to the problem of distracted driving," Shirky continued. 

Distracted driving is considered to be any non-driving activity that potentially distracts a person from the primary task of driving and can increase the risk of crashing. This includes visual distractions that take your eyes off the road; manually taking your hands off the steering wheel; and cognitive distractions that take your mind off of driving. Texting while driving, for example, falls under all three categories.

"We've seen success on the state's first Distracted Driving Safety Corridor near Youngstown where deadly and injury crashes are down 30 percent," said ODOT District 4 Deputy Director Gery Noirot. "We appreciate this partnership with the Highway Patrol and their enforcement work to discourage dangerous driving behaviors in an effort to reduce crashes and save lives."

A safety corridor was also recently launched on Route 2 in Lorain County, stretching from Baumhart Road to I-90 in Elyria. 

Other drivers are encouraged to use #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as any suspected drug activity.