HILLIARD, OH (WCMH) — Hilliard police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are cracking down on drivers breaking the law in the west side construction zone on Interstate 270, after authorities said there has been an increasing number of traffic crashes.
Within a six-week period three Hilliard Police cruisers with emergency lights activated, parked on the interstate and working accidents in construction zone were hit by other drivers.
In the last six months, Hilliard police said they have responded to 189 crashes in the four-mile zone.
The Highway Patrol said the crash totals for the 10 months leading up to today has already surpassed a full previous year.
There were 285 crashes from April 1st 2017 to January 10th 2018 and 280 from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
So the Highway Patrol in conjunction with Hilliard Police will be using a different way of stopping violators in a construction zone.
“We are using our aviation section and we will have troopers and police officers on the ground, and our pilots will view the violation from the air and once the vehicle exits the construction zones, we will be able to safely make traffic stops,” said Lt. Robert Sellers, spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He said stopping violators in the construction zone is just too dangerous.
But even if you are not involved in a crash there, traffic fines in construction zones are doubled.
“So instead of a $150 speeding ticket, you could be looking at a $300 speeding ticket and is that really worth it to save a couple of seconds?” Lt. Sellers said.
It is not just Hilliard cruisers that have been struck. A Columbus Police cruiser and construction worker have also been struck near this area, and the construction worker died from his injuries.
Police said the biggest issue they are facing is speeding, following too closely and failing to get over for vehicles.
“All too often not just here in Ohio, but across the nation, you see where police officers, tow truck drivers, highway workers are struck and killed. Those are needless accidents,” said Lt. Sellers.
Distracted driving is also to blame for some of the crashes. Lt. Sellers said a driver could travel the length of a football field just glancing down at his or her cell phone for a couple of seconds.