From 2013 to 2015, Ohio traffic deaths increased from 990 to over 1,100. The latest count from 2014 reveals Ohio's roadways saw an injury every 5.2 minutes. That's 275.5 people injured every day.
Two and a half of the accidents each day were fatal. It's no secret that Ohio roadways can be very dangerous. Add in wintry conditions and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers said there’s one more issue causing even more problems- the accumulation of snow on the cars travelling our highways.
Inches of snow often piles on top of cars and all drivers don’t clear it off before driving high speeds down the highway. Ohio Highway Patrol Post Commander Lt. Travis Hughes said the piles of snow and ice are just one more safety concern on our roads.
“I can see it. It's not because I'm just sitting here thinking about it. It's because I have seen it,” said Lt. Travis Hughes.
Ohio law requires you remove all snow from your windows, but the roof, hood, and trunk aren’t included. Officials said some chunks of snow and ice can actually fly off and cause accidents. The Ohio law may help protect motorists’ visibility, but doesn’t combat the dangers snow causes as a projectile.
The lack of snow clearing causes enough problems in some states, the law requires you to clear all the snow off your vehicle. Lawmakers in Connecticut call them “Ice Missile laws” because of the way those chunks of ice and snow fly off cars and fly through the air like missiles. The law requires motorists “remove any accumulated ice or snow from motor vehicles including the hood, trunk, and roof” in addition to their windows.
In Pennsylvania, their law requires the drivers to pay up if a chunk of ice and snow flies off their vehicle and injures someone. So Cleveland 19 wanted to know why it's law there but not here in Ohio. We went to Northeast Ohio Senator John Eklund to find out.
"You're making a law that's applicable to 11.5 million people and there's really only 2 million people that are impacted by it," said Senator John Eklund.
But Eklund himself saw snow-covered cars on his way to the Cleveland 19 studios that made travel on the roads more dangerous. "The snow just blows off the roof and creates a snowy fog in front of everyone travelling behind."
The snow and ice can start on top of the car, but then slide down the rear windshield. Again, we don't have a law here in Ohio that requires you to clear that snow off anywhere but your windows. If it were law, Lieutenant Hughes says it could improve safety. “Hopefully by educating them it'll prevent an accident from happening."
"If so many people believe it in their hearts that it's the thing to do. Let's just get out there and reinforce it a little bit," said Sentator John Eklund.
That's where the public comes in. Senator Eklund said if you think Ohio should join the likes of other nearby states with Ice Missile laws, email, call, and write your Senators and Representatives. He warns it's a long and windy road. He said a law would have to be written very clearly so that citizens understand exactly what is required. "Accumulated in Chardon may mean one thing, accumulated in Coshocton may mean something else. So it's a standard that would have to be vetted very carefully."
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