OSHP watching for distracted drivers from the ground and sky

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LICKING COUNTY, Ohio — More than 6,800 people in Ohio were injured in distracted driving crashes last year.

Drivers can cover the length of a football field while sending one text at 55 miles per hour.

To prevent that danger, there's a new way the Ohio State Highway Patrol is cracking down on distracted driving.

On the ground, troopers are watching what you are doing behind the wheel, making sure you are not driving distracted.

“When they are not paying attention, their driving habits seem to fall off and they start doing a lot of things like driving too fast because they aren't paying attention, or driving too slow, following too close, lane violations,” said Staff Lt. Justin Cromer, Commander for the Aviation Section for OSHP.

In 2018, 51 people across the state lost their lives due to distracted driving crashes. The OSHP is now taking to the skies to try to prevent those fatal crashes.

From the air, OSHP pilots are still watching for many of the same violations.

“You'll be a little bit over the road, going over the lines, changing lanes, cutting other people off, things like that,” said trooper and pilot Andrew Edinger.

The eyes above call the eyes below to give you the message.

“If nothing else, we are selling the message — that's what we are out here looking for — is distracted driving. It's a huge concern. It causes a lot of violations, a lot of crashes. That's what we are trying to curb,” Cromer said.

While drivers might not always be happy to see the lights behind them, troopers say it's all about safety.

“I think everyone has the mindset it will happen to someone else, not to me. The fact is, we just saw you up there weaving all over the roadway speeding through. Guess what? You could have been the next one, had we not initiated this and got your attention,” Cromer said.