Ohio highway signs alert travelers of dangers of drugged driving

BARLOW, Oh. (WTAP) According to Ohio Department of Transportation traffic crash statistics, Ohio has seen a 25% increase in drugged driving crashes since 2012.

To raise awareness about drugged driving, 130 freeway and portable highway signs are being placed all over the state.

They encourage conversation and inform travelers about the growing problem. More than 3,500 drugged driving crashes have already happened this year.

"It's not just alcohol when you think about impaired drivers," said Lt. Chris Chesar with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. "It is a drug problem as well. It's been increasing. It's increased 25% since 2012 throughout the state of Ohio, so it definitely is a problem and we want people to just start talking about it and be aware of it."

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says talking about the problem can make all the difference. "We need to start some place. We are in the middle of a heroin epidemic right here and we are having a lot of kids that are suffering from overdoses and we need to stop it," Mincks said. "A good place to start is with parents being able to talk to their children."

The signs will display the messages for the next two weeks.