COLUMBUS, OHIO (WANE) – Freeway message signs in Ohio will be used during the holiday travel season to raise awareness of the growing problem of drugged driving.
The message signs and portable signs will include phrases like “Take time to start talking about drug abuse” as a means to alert motorists to what’s being called a drug abuse epidemic.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) crash statistics, Ohio has seen a 25% increase in drugged driving crashes since 2012. There have been 3,574 drugged driving crashes already this year, or about 33 percent of all impaired driving crashes. Driving a vehicle while impaired, whether by alcohol or drugs, puts the driver, passengers, roadside workers, and others who share the road at risk.
“Law enforcement officers, first responders, tow truck drivers and the majority of our workers here at ODOT do their jobs alongside our roads and highways. Their safety is at risk every time someone gets behind the wheel while impaired,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “There is so much that needs to be done to address this problem, but one way we can start is by talking to young people about the dangers of drug use and impaired driving.”
According to ODOT, research shows youth are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents and adults talk with them about substance use and abuse.