As the Ohio State Highway Patrol sees a steady increase in speeding drivers on the Ohio Turnpike, troopers are coordinating by ground and air to nab them.
“We’re definitely getting more vehicles in the 100s (mile per hour), and we’re looking for them,” said Trooper Bryan Dail who pilots one of the state highway patrol's 17 aircrafts.
Statistics show there has been a 19 percent increase between last year and this year, year-to-date, in the number of drivers on the turnpike stopped by state highway patrol for going 100 miles per hour or more.
Speed is to blame for 64% of the fatal crashes on the turnpike in the last two and a half years.
“What we’re looking for are aggressive drivers," added Dail. "We want the ones that are most likely going to cause the accidents.”
NewsChannel 5 flew with the state highway patrol into one of their 36 mile-long aerial enforcement areas Thursday. Using a stopwatch to measure distance over time and fixed markers on the highway, Dail caught multiple drivers going well above the speed limit. He then described the cars and trucks to troopers on the ground who proceeded to pull them over.
“Black SUV, and he’s at 93 miles per hour right now," radioed Dail to his colleagues on the ground.
State highway patrol said they are also looking carefully at construction zones for speeding and lane usage. Year-to-date between last year and this year, the patrol has issued 60% more tickets for speeding in construction zones. They said they are also watching to make sure trucks stay in the right lanes in construction zones versus the left for safety purposes.
On Aug. 14th, prosecutors charged a semi-truck driver for being in the left lane of a turnpike construction zone in Erie County. The patrol said he slammed into the back of a pick-up, killing a 14-year-old girl from New York inside.
“This is the same road that our families are driving on, folks that are driving this aggressively," added Dail. "We’re just trying to get them to slow down, pay attention and get them to where they are going safely.”