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Fatalities on Ohio highways have increased since speed limit changed to 70 MPH


An Ohio state report shows that since July 1, 2013, when the speed limit on portions of 6 Ohio highways was increased to 70 MPH, there has been a 24% increase in crashes on those stretches. Further, there has been a 22% increase in crashes that involve fatalities or injuries.

In raw numbers, that has meant 1,928 more crashes, 421 more injuries and five more deaths than in the four years prior to 2013, according to the Scene.

Rather than decreasing the speed limit, the Department of Transportation has decided that increased patrol in these areas will deter drivers from speeding and distracted driving. Troopers will be more present in these areas. Officers will be targeting drivers that are following other cars too closely, improper passing, distracted driving, and speeding.

Specific areas the Ohio state highway patrol will focus on include I-70 and U.S. 33 near Columbus, and I-71 near Ashland.

The state will also be implementing a $100,000 ad campaign that displays signs that read, “Stop speeding before it stops you” and “Obey the sign or pay the fine.”

The analysis of those efforts could lead to a temporary reduction of the limit back to 65 mph in selected areas, according to the State Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation.

“Roadway safety is a shared responsibility,” patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers told News 5 Cleveland.

The Ohio Insurance Institute, which opposed the increase to 70 mph, welcomed the patrol’s proposals to decrease the speed limit back down to 65 MPH.

Institue president Dean Fadel said, “There is an obvious correlation between the rise of Ohio crashes and the 70 mph speed limit increase.”

Similarly, Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, responded to these statistics saying, “When speed limits go up, crashes and deaths on those roads increase, and when speed limits are reduced, crashes and deaths decrease.”


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