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ODOT, Public Safety launching a task force to curb distracted driving

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety are joining together to put an end to distracted driving. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety are joining together to put an end to distracted driving.

"I have a family and the thought of someone driving distracted and putting me and my family at risk, quite frankly it scares me," said Michelle May with ODOT.

The ODOT safety expert has been fighting to end distracted driving in Ohio.

"We've seen four consecutive years of rising traffic deaths," she said. "I have no doubt that distracted driving plays a big role."

ODOT and DPS are launching an anti-distracted driving task force. The goal is to send real recommendations to Ohio's next governor.

May said it's a problem that's likely worse than many realize.

"Last year, we had over 21,000 distracted driving related crashes, but I think the number is actually much higher than that," said May.

May said there will be about 25 people on the task force, including Columbus Police Officer Keith Conner.

This month, ABC 6/FOX 28 told you about Officer Conner's mission. In dash camera video aired on ABC 6/FOX 28, the officer pulled over people texting and driving, using lap tops while driving and more. He has issued around 400 citations and 1,500 warnings in the past year-and-a-half for texting and driving.

"When I saw that story I was completely shocked, and yet not shocked," said May.

On day one of the task force, May said they will watch the story and the follow up piece.

"I really do hope that we come up with a series of actions that we can take in 2019 to curb what is clearly an epidemic to me," she said.

The task force will meet for the first time on June 4th.

If you have any comments you want to share with the task force, you can contact ODOT.

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