The Ohio Department of Transportation and Governor Mike DeWine (R) recently awarded $54 million to dozens of transportation safety projects in 30 counties aimed at preventing pedestrian-involved and roadway-departure crashes across Ohio.
[Above photo by Ohio DOT]
According to Ohio DOT, in 2021, fatal crashes statewide involving pedestrians and roadway departures both reached their highest levels in years. A total of 176 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2021 as compared to 88 pedestrians killed in 2013 and 165 in 2022. Meanwhile, roadway departure crashes killed 703 people in Ohio in 2021 and 688 people in 2022 as compared to 576 in 2013.
Safety projects that aim to prevent pedestrian fatalities include the installation of high-visibility crossings, advanced yield markings, improved lighting, and new traffic calming mechanisms, such as speedbumps, the agency said, with pedestrian-activated signals planned for installation near schools.
To combat roadway departure crashes, Ohio DOT – via its Highway Safety Improvement Program – will fund projects aimed at widening road shoulders, flattening road slopes, removing deep ditches, and installing rumble stripes, especially on high-speed rural roads.
“Since Governor DeWine took office in 2019, Ohio DOT’s traffic safety program has risen to its greatest investment in the history of the department,” said Ohio DOT Director Jack Marchbanks in a statement.
“This has allowed our team to address a variety of safety hotspots around the state, from dangerous intersections to now pedestrian-related and roadway-departure crashes,” he added.
The agency added that this is second round of grant awards specifically dedicated to preventing these two types of crashes from its highway safety program. In May 2022, Gov. DeWine announced $51 million for projects to address roadway departures and pedestrian-involved crashes at locations in 32 counties.
Also, in early, 2023, the governor signed a bill that significantly strengthens laws in Ohio related to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. He also launched a new distracted driving awareness campaign to educate drivers about the new law.