Troopers ready for July 4 travel

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2000

Motorists taking to the highways this weekend need to be wary if they plan on bending the traffic laws.

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Motorists taking to the highways this weekend need to be wary if they plan on bending the traffic laws. The Ohio Highway Patrol will be watching.

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The OHP will flood the highways with officers during the holiday weekend to ensure safety for anyone who plans to travel.

"We will be in full force on the roads during the weekend," OHP Sgt. Mike Gore said. "With the help of federal grants, we have scheduled overtime for all personnel providing eight to 10 people on any given shift."

Officers will watch for excessive speed, safety belt and other violations, Gore said.

"In addition to working to remove the impaired driver from the highway, we will be watching for people following too close and those who fail to yield," he said. "Most of our crashes are the result of people not paying attention. Our fatal crashes are usually the result of either drivers following too closely or they fail to yield to oncoming traffic. The No. 1 cause of fatal crashes is speed, with failure to yield in second."

Gore said motorists should always remember to maintain at least one car length behind a car for every 10 miles per hour of driving speed.

"People don’t realize that when they’re traveling at 55 mph, they have to consider their reaction time," Gore said. "First, they have to react to ‘there is a problem in front of me’ and then they have to react by applying the brake. Drivers often don’t realize that in most cases, seconds count in preventing an accident."

The Highway Patrol will also keep an eye out for underage drinking and child restraint violations.

"We have a zero tolerance for underage drinking and we are really concerned for the little ones who are not properly restrained in an automobile," he said. "We have had a 100 percent increase on enforcing child restraints over this time last year. Drivers should never allow a child to ride in a vehicle without being in a car seat. Children riding in an automobile in Ohio must ride in a car seat of some type if they are under the age of 4 years and under 40 pounds according to law."

Gore said accidents commonly occur when parents take their eyes off the roadway to maintain a child in a restraining seat.

"Drivers should pull off the roadway if they are having problems keeping a child in a restraining seat," he said. "They should never take their eye off the road to deal with the child. Our number of seat belt violations has increased by 31 percent and DUIs have decreased by 12 percent over last year’s figures. The No. 1 message we want people to know is the importance of safety."