Ohio to implement warning systems for stopped traffic

The state of Ohio is confident that the implementation of new technology, which can detect slow traffic and provide warnings to drivers, will significantly enhance the safety of its highway system.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is set to implement new warning systems at 13 highway locations in and around major urban areas that have been identified as high-congestion and high-crash sites.

When traffic cameras detect slow or stopped traffic, they will activate a message board located a few miles ahead to inform drivers about an imminent traffic hazard. In addition to this, the alerts will also be sent through the state’s traffic app and other mobile applications.

“We are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance road safety as technology advances,” stated Governor Mike DeWine. “While we believe that these warning systems will play a crucial role in preventing accidents, it is essential for drivers to prioritize safe driving. In order for these signs to be truly effective, it is imperative that drivers remain attentive.”

The new system aims to prevent accidents that occur at the end of a queue when drivers fail to notice slowed or stopped traffic and do not reduce their speed.

According to ODOT, the number of crashes has increased over the past three years, reaching a total of 8,811 in 2023. ODOT anticipates that implementing the new warning system will result in a 16% reduction in the crash rate, preventing approximately 1,400 crashes annually.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work our team has put in to make sure that Ohio is at the forefront of implementing these innovative resources,” expressed Jack Marchbanks, Director of ODOT. He added, “By combining these new warning systems with Ohio’s stricter distracted driving laws, we are confident that lives will be saved.”

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The first site is now active on I-70 westbound at State Route 310 in Licking County. This location holds significance as it was the site of a tragic rear-end crash in November 2023. The crash involved a charter bus carrying students from the Tuscarawas Valley Local School District.

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