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Ohio plans warning systems for stopped traffic

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(The Center Square) – The state of Ohio believes new technology that detects slow traffic and warns drivers will create a safer highway system.

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to install new warning systems at 13 highway sites in and around major urban areas identified as high-congestion, high-crash sites.

When site cameras register slow or stopped traffic, they trigger a message board a few miles away to tell drivers of an upcoming traffic hazard. The same alerts will be pushed through the state’s traffic app and other apps.

“As technology continues to evolve, we’re always looking for new ways to help prevent serious and fatal crashes on our highways,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “Although we’re confident that these warning systems will help prevent crashes, there is still no substitute for safe driving. For these signs to be effective, drivers must be paying attention.”

The new system is designed to help “end-of-queue” crashes if a driver doesn’t recognize slowed or stopped traffic and fails to slow down.

According to ODOT, those crashes have risen over the past three years, with 8,811 in 2023. ODOT expects the new warning system to slow the rate by 16% or about 1,400 crashes a year.

“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts our team has made to ensure Ohio is leading the way when it comes to deploying these new resources,” ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said. “These new warning systems, combined with Ohio’s toughened distracted driving laws, will surely save lives.”

The first site recently went live on I-70 westbound at State Route 310 in Licking County near the site of the November 2023 fatal rear-end crash involving a charter bus carrying students from the Tuscarawas Valley Local School District.

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