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Ohio Highway Patrol officials study high-crash

ODOT, Jan 26, 2005

At present, ODOT, the Ohio Highway Safety Commission and Ohio Highway Patrol officials study high-crash locations to come up with plans to eliminate the wrecks.

But Taft wants to expand the study to other parts of the same routes to make entire routes safer.
By pooling other resources, the task force will be able to study "whether there's an expanded reason for accidents on that corridor," Cunningham said.

"We will look at a road's design and engineering. We will do a multitude of studies. What the task force is doing is to incorporate elements from other departments."

Lorrie Laing, administrator of the Ohio Highway Safety office, said, "The task force will help us to maximize our resources and opportunities for partnership to more intensely focus on our 2008 goal of one fatality per 100 million vehicle miles traveled."

In 2003, Ohio's fatality rate was 1.16 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, while the national rate was 1.48 fatalities.
The group has identified about 200 accident-prone areas in the state, and will prioritize changes to be made at these locations.

If overgrown tree branches block motorists' views, they will be cut down; if an existing traffic pattern is the cause of problems, it will be changed; and if a new interchange is the solution, the task force will recommend its construction, Cunningham said.

Lyndhurst resident Donna Maslar, who was involved in a two-car crash on Interstate 90 in Euclid, is encouraged by the governor's plan. "It's a good thing to review the accident-prone areas," said Maslar, whose Ford Explorer was totaled in the crash. "I think it's great."

Maslar was entering Interstate 90 westbound from East 185th Street when a Toyota Camry hit her SUV.
She and the other driver escaped unscathed. Maslar said there had been other collisions at the same spot.State Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township, wants more action and less study.

"ODOT is constantly studying high rate accident areas," Grendell said, adding that it's time to stop conducting studies and start fixing the problems.One area that saw improvement recently was Route 422 in Geauga County.

Truck traffic on the road significantly increased in 1994 when the toll on the Ohio Turnpike was increased.
To avoid paying tolls, many truck drivers began taking state routes.

Truck traffic on Route 422 "increased by 267 percent between 1994 and 2004," Grendell said.

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