The State Highway Patrol says more than 270 citations have been given to drivers for texting or using a cellphone behind the wheel in violation of Ohio law since the statewide texting ban took effect about a year ago.
Texting while driving is a secondary offense for those 18 and older. That means an officer has to stop a driver for another offense first, such as speeding.
Younger drivers are prohibited from texting or using cellphones or other hand-held devices and it's a primary offense.
Preliminary data show Ohio had a record-low number of traffic deaths in 2013.
The State Highway Patrol reports at least 923 people died on Ohio roads during the past year. Additional deaths are under review but have not been confirmed as traffic fatalities, making the possible total 981.
It would be the first time Ohio has had fewer than 1,000 traffic deaths since record-keeping began in 1936. The previous low was 1,016 in 2011. In 2012, Ohio had 1,122 deaths.
There’s an online registry in Ohio that identifies habitual drunk drivers but recently, there have been cases where there have been gaps in that database. Staff Lieutenant Anne Ralston of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says the agency has upgraded the registry so that it compiles up to date information automatically from already existing electronic records.
“Prior to the revamp of the system, we only had 348 people who were habitual offenders who were being captured on the registry. Now after the revamp, we have over 5300 habitual offenders on the registry.”
Auto club AAA estimates more than 3.5 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the year-end holiday period running from Saturday through New Year's Day.
That number is up slightly from last year. AAA says travel during this holiday season has increased with economic improvements in recent years. Average gas prices now are expected to remain lower during the holidays than they were a year ago.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says 13 people lost their lives in crashes on Ohio’s roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend between midnight on November 27th to midnight Monday morning. The Patrol’s Sargent Vincent Shirey says the department also cracked down on drunk and impaired drivers.