By: Michael L. Wright
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Department Of Transportation Reports Ohio Wrong Way Crashes 100 Times More Deadly Than Other Accident Types
Ohio Wrong Way Crashes In Ohio Account For One Percent of All Fatalities In Ohio Each Year.
A recent report indicates that in 2014, Clark County had the third-highest accident rate with 22 Ohio wrong way crashes. The number seems small, but according to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, wrong-way crashes are extremely dangerous, and often deadly. Data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol found that wrong-way crashes are 100 times more deadly than other collisions and account for about 1 percent of all fatalities in Ohio each year.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that Ohio wrong way crashes are actually increasing. In 2013, Ohio had 446 wrong-way crashes, but in 2014, Ohio had 467 wrong-way crashes. In Clark County, wrong-way crashes increased from nine to 13 crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board states that wrong-way crashes are often caused by the same triggers. Half of wrong-way drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most crashes happen at night and on interstate roads. In Ohio, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that most wrong-way crashes occur in rural areas on divided highways. [http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/news/transportation/wrong-way-crashes-often-deadly-hard-to-prevent/nk2m4/#__federated=1, May 2015]
In 2014, 2.4 percent of Ohio’s wrong-way crashes caused fatalities. For other accident types, Ohio sees a fatality rate of about 1.3 percent. However, when wrong-way crashes on small roads are separated from wrong-way crashes on divided highways, the fatality rate increases dramatically. A study from the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 2013 found that when wrong-way crashes occurred on highways between 2011 and 2013, 37 percent of crashes ended in fatalities. Other highway crashes in Ohio had a fatality rate of just 0.35 percent.
Safety administrations blame simple physics on the dangers of wrong-way crashes. Two vehicles traveling at 65 miles per hour have a combined impact speed of 130 miles per hour. The Springfield News-Sun reports that curbing drunken driving can dramatically reduce the number of wrong-way crashes in Ohio each year. Other safety steps include educating drivers on traffic signs and providing escorts for elderly drivers who may get confused while driving at night. The Ohio Department of Transportation is investigating the possibility of adding traffic-control devices on highway entrance and exit ramps to minimize wrong-way driving.
In 2006, Columbus implemented additional safety measures to prevent wrong-way crashes on some of its entrance and exit ramps. The city saw a slight drop in the number of wrong-way crashes after implementing the new safety measures, however, not everyone believes the signs can make a big enough difference. Spokesperson for the Ohi Department of Transportation, Matt Bruning, told the Springfield News-Sun “All the things we could do, adding more signs, flashing lights, put LEDs in the ramp or something … If they’re not noticing an 18-wheeler coming at them at 70 mph on the interstate, are they going to notice an extra wrong way sign? But if that extra wrong way sign stops one person from going the wrong way down the ramp, then it was worth every dime we spent to do it.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation is working with SpeedInfo to create highway sensors that can detect wrong-way drivers and alert law enforcement. However, the sensors are not yet accurate enough to implement on a wide scale. The department plans to implement the use of the sensors onc
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