The stretch of Interstate 75 that runs through Butler and Warren counties in Ohio is becoming notorious for slow traffic due to accidents. The Ohio State Highway Patrol has reported that, on average, in 2010 there were almost 2.5 wrecks every day on that stretch of road, which is only 19 miles long.
Although the slow traffic is frustrating and dangerous for drivers, it can be even more unsafe for the individuals working in construction zones. When drivers do not watch the road carefully or do not slow down, workers are likely to get injured.
The highway patrol suspects that the increase is due in part to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s $216.8 million project to widen and realign the road. Once complete, it will give vehicles wider lanes and help to improve safety.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Unit, the number of accidents from 2005 to 2010 increased 50 percent, from 304 to 457 in Warren County alone. In 2010, there were 880 accidents on I-75 between Warren and Butler counties and the year before resulted in 1,052 crashes.
Officers and drivers agree that distracted drivers are to blame for most of the accidents, and a large number of them are texting or using cell phones instead of focusing on driving at high speeds. Some commuters have even been caught reading newspapers while driving. One man, while talking on his cell phone, almost missed his exit and took out a few traffic barrels, resulting in a barrel dragging along under his truck.
State troopers are also keeping an eye out for aggressive drivers who tailgate and make improper lane changes. If a driver is speeding while driving aggressively, the resulting crash is exponentially worse. To help curb aggressive drivers, law enforcement officers and vehicles are trying to be visible on the road and are adding airspeed checks to the effort, as well.
Source: Dayton Daily News, “Police busy enforcing law in construction zone,” Kareem Elgazzar, 11 July 2011