Is 70 mph speed limit to blame for increase in Ohio crashes?

COLUMBUS (WYTV) – The Ohio State Highway Patrol wants to reduce the number of severe crashes on roadways where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour.

Three sections of Ohio highways were recently targeted for more enforcement because they have all seen an increase in crashes since the speed limit was raised to 70 mph in 2013.

A report put together by the Departments of Public Safety and Transportation made several recommendations on how crashes could be reduced in those areas. Increased enforcement was one way to accomplish this.

Lt. Robert Sellers, with Highway Patrol, released a statement on the report, which reads in part:

While the last six years have been the safest ever on Ohio’s roads, there are always areas of the state where we want people to know crashes are occurring.”

Another recommended step being put in place will be to use media to reach drivers. Signs and billboards will be used and radio advertising spots will be purchased to encourage drivers to slow down.

In the meantime, speed data will be collected in areas that will see increased enforcement to see if the effort is, in fact, reducing speeds.

The areas being targeted will be:

  • Between mileposts 120 and 124 on I-70 in Licking County
  • Between mileposts 180 and 184 on I-71 in Ashland County
  • Between mileposts 20 and 24 on U.S. 33 in Union County

The enforcement and media blitz will go on for six months, then crash data will be compiled to see what effect the effort had.

A recommendation to reduce the speed limit on an unnamed section of highway from 70 to 60 mph while not increasing enforcement beyond the normal amount is not currently being planned, according to the Department of Transportation.