For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE
The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
November 7, 2003

 

GOVERNOR LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM TO PROMOTE COMMUTE SAFETY
Ohio Safe Commute to Target High-Crash Locations to Save Lives and Reduce Injuries

COLUMBUS (November 7, 2003) Governor Bob Taft today joined representatives of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio Department of Transportation to launch a six-month pilot program to make the rush-hour commute safer and easier for drivers in Central Ohio.

"Rush-hour can be extremely dangerous - hundreds of crashes happen in Ohio each day as people are driving to and from work and many of these crashes are preventable," Taft said. "Ohio Safe Commute is a great reminder about the importance of safe driving and I encourage all Ohioans to join in this commitment to prevent tragedies on our roads."

Joining Taft were Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Kenneth Morckel, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Gordon Proctor, Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Paul McClellan and Columbus Public Safety Director Mitchell Brown. Law enforcement officers from Columbus, Dublin and Worthington police departments, and the Franklin County Sheriffs Office also attended the event held at Bank One in downtown Columbus.

Ohio Safe Commute will station law enforcement officers and tow trucks along the busiest highways during peak hours. When crashes occur, officers and a tow truck will respond quickly to clear the crash scene. Minor accidents will be directed off the highway to complete crash reports. In addition, officers will patrol these corridors to enforce the speed limit.

Ohio Safe Commute will begin November 10 and target the following five high-crash locations:

  • Interstate 70 from Children's Hospital to Interstate 270
  • Interstate 71 from 17th Avenue to State Route 161
  • Interstate 270 from SR 161 to U.S. Route 23 (northwest)
  • Interstate 70/71 "split" from State Route 315 to Fifth Avenue
  • State Route 315 from Lane Avenue to Interstate 270

Combined, these areas account for more than 4,200 crashes each year. The most common cause of crashes was excessive speed and failure to control. A recent study concluded that 26 percent of motorists were traveling at speeds of 75 mph or greater. Each year, there are approximately 380,000 crashes that kill 1,500 people and injure 198,000 people in Ohio.

The program, which may eventually be expanded statewide, will be funded by the Governor's Jobs and Progress Plan through the Department of Transportation. The Plan calls for increasing the amount of money ODOT spends on high-crash locations from $35 million to $65 million annually.