CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A new national traffic study shows Miami Valley drivers commute on some of the deadliest roads in the state. I-75 and I-70 had two of the three highest fatality rates in the state of Ohio. ODOT says it’s no surprise those roads top the list, as they’re the most heavily-traveled roads in the state of Ohio.
Lt. Geoffrey Freeman is the Commander of the OSP Dayton Post. He says, “The worst part of my job is going to a family’s home to tell them their loved one was killed in a car crash.”
It’s a difficult part of the job that’s becoming more commonplace. The organization A Secure Life analyzed 3 years of summer driving data and found from 2015-2017 31 people were killed on I-75 and 24 people were killed on I-70. I-71 was the deadliest Ohio road with 39 deaths.
Lt. Freeman says, “A lot of times we stop people and they say ‘Man, I didn’t realize I was going that fast.'” Lt. Freeman says speed is a key cause of deadly accidents, along with following too closely, not moving over for stopped vehicles, improper lane changes, and distracted driving.
“Everybody’s in a hurry, and there are a lot of things on people’s minds, so a lot of time the intention is not to be distracted or not to be driving as fast as they are.”
An ODOT official echoed Lt. Freeman, saying in a statement “the solutions for reducing crashes is no different on these highways than any other roadway in the state. Drivers need to obey the speed limit, don’t follow other vehicles closely, and drop distractions.”
OSP’s two-prong approach to safe driving involves education and enforcement.
Lt. Freeman understands no one likes getting a ticket, but says, “I would rather have an interaction with them in that capacity than to go to their house or their homes and tell them their loved one is never coming home again.”
Lt. Freeman says inexperience is another key factor in deadly accidents. He says it’s not too early to start thinking about winter driving techniques.