A new report out from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Traffic Safety Council reveals a startling fact about the pandemic that no one saw coming: the number of crashes and traffic deaths are up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say that the uptick in crashes and crash-related deaths is because of the influx of more drivers on the road, perhaps because people chose to drive themselves in lieu of taking public transportation or carpooling.
Since the onset of the pandemic, data from Ohio shows that impaired driving and the incidence of distracted driving is on an upward course. People are looking at their cellphones more often, driving drunk or drugged, and speeding like never before. ODOT sources say that the state realized a 1 percent increase in the number of drivers going 85 miles per hour or greater on the freeways throughout the state. While it is just 1 percent, that translates to millions of motorists in the state going extremely fast, which is a recipe for disaster, especially when coupled with distractions from Facebook or text messages. According to ODT, these numbers indicate that people are becoming accustomed to driving at high speeds.
While some members of Ohio’s legislature are trying to enact laws that will help curtail distracted drivers and speeders, some lawmakers may take more of a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to the problem. In May of 2021, Senator Andrew Brenner participated in a Zoom meeting with the Ohio Controlling Board—while driving.
Among those legislators who are looking to solve, not worsen, the problem of distracted driving, the consensus seems to be that folks should not use a cell phone whatsoever while driving, and they should be ticketed if they even hold their phones while behind the wheel. The legislation may make its way through the red tape required to become law in the fall of 2021.
And laws of this type are sorely needed. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, from the years spanning 2016 through 2020, there were north of 66,000 distracted driving crashes on Ohio’s roadways. During that same five-year period, 212 people died because of the negligence of distracted drivers. The proposed legislation hopes to reverse this trend.
If you have been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, you have a right to collect fair and just compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party. You may file a claim for damages such as lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other awards, depending on the severity of your injuries. Reach out to a competent Cleveland personal injury attorney now to discuss your case and plot a course forward to get the justice and compensation you deserve. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 888-710-0040.