State Report Shows Increased Crashes, Fatalities on Ohio Highways With 70 MPH Speed Limits

Since July 1, 2013, when the speed limit on portions of six highways in Ohio was increased from 65 mph to 70 mph as part of the state's budget transportation bill that year, there has been a 24-percent increase in crashes on those stretches and a 22-percent increase in crashes involving fatalities or injuries, according to a new study. In raw numbers, that has meant 1,928 more crashes, 421 more injuries and five more deaths than in the four years prior to 2013.

In response to that data from the state highway patrol and Department of Transportation, troopers will begin enhanced patrols of those areas. Tapping into overtime, officers will target a list of dangerous activities including following too closely, improper passing, distracted driving and speeding. Specific areas the Ohio state highway patrol will focus on include I-70 and U.S. 33 near Columbus, and I-71 near Ashland.

A $100,000 ad campaign will also debut urging Ohioans to slow the fuck down. Messages such as "Stop speeding before it stops you" and "Obey the sign or pay the fine" will be seen along highways.

The highway patrol says the frightening trend might lead to a request by the organization to Governor John Kasich to temporarily dial back to 65 mph.

Limited to stretches of highways of urban areas, the increase had been welcomed by many of those traversing Ohio's rural asphalt. And while those same four years have also seen a rise in distracted driving (see: cell phones), the data compiled by the state showed a 1-percent decrease in crashes and a 3-percent decrease in fatal crashes on all other Ohio roads during that time.
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