The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that since Ohio lawmakers raised the speed limit on the Ohio Turnpike to 70 mph, the number of crashes has increased by 5.5 percent. The news comes as lawmakers are considering a bill that would raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on all of the state’s highways.
Highway patrol officials say that since the new speed limit took effect on April 1, 2011, there have been 2,539 crashes on the turnpike, which covers 241 miles; that number compares with the 2,405 crashes that occurred between April 2010 and March 2011.
A breakdown of crash statistics reveals that in that April 2010 to March 2011 period, 484 injuries were reported, compared to 414 previously. The six deaths that have occurred since the speed limit was raised matches totals for the previous 12 months.
While a direct connection has not been established between the rise in crashes and the new speed limit, patrol officials are still concerned about the potential impact of a statewide increase.
Since the national speed limit was repealed in 1994, 33 states have raised their speed limits to 70 mph or above. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speed plays a part in roughly one-third of all crash-related deaths.