Central Ohio roadway collisions increased by 21% in the 5-year period between 2013 and 2017, according to the 2019 Central Ohio Transportation Safety Plan, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
The report notes that central Ohio experienced 41,749 crashes in 2017 compared with 34,447 in 2013.
Moreover, fatal crashes rose approximately 35% in the same period, going from 81 in 2013 to 109 in 2017. Collisions that involved serious injuries also increased, climbing from 8,783 to 10,990 in the five-year window evaluated in the report.
Experts note that very often the biggest victims in crashes are vulnerable roadway users, that is, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. In the case of central Ohio’s collision epidemic, for example, pedestrians account for 12% of the serious injuries and deaths over the 5-year period, reports The Dispatch.
Distracted driving is also on the rise. Talking on the phone, texting and other distracted behaviors were a factor is 13,727 crashes across the state of Ohio in 2018, reports the Dayton Daily News.
To combat the problem, the state of Ohio has launched a new enforcement initiative that gives troopers a bird’s eye view of drivers. Positioned in a Gipps Aero Airvan high above the roadway, troopers have been spotting speeders and cell phone users and capturing them on high-definition cameras mounted to the belly of the aircraft, notes the Daily News.
The troopers radio to law enforcement on the ground, who then pull over motorists and issue citations.