Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

TLDR: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) have announced the launch of a new technology initiative aimed at warning drivers of dangerous traffic congestion. The initiative will install warning systems at 13 highway sites in high-congestion, high-crash areas to detect slow or stopped traffic and trigger message boards to alert approaching drivers. The technology is specifically aimed at reducing “end-of-queue” crashes, which occur when drivers fail to recognize slowing or stopped traffic.

ODOT expects the new technology to reduce rear-end crashes by at least 16%, equating to a reduction of around 1,400 crashes. The first of the automated traffic queue warning systems has already been activated in Licking County, near the site of a fatal rear-end crash involving a school bus. The new warning systems use similar technology to ODOT’s wrong-way driver detection systems and will be operational at all 13 sites within two years.

The announcement comes alongside the release of provisional crash data, indicating that Ohio’s new distracted driving laws have influenced safer driving behavior. In 2023, there were more than 15,500 fewer traffic crashes compared to 2022, and approximately 46,500 fewer crashes compared to 2019. Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Charles A. Jones stated that education on distracted driving, along with the new technology, will help achieve the goal of increasing road safety and reducing serious crashes.