ODOT smart to test devices that could save lives

Published 9:27 am Thursday, April 26, 2012

There’s an adage that insists “safety first.”

It’s really common sense, but it’s also been beaten into our heads throughout the years by mothers, teachers and others. …

Yet, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation, there’s one area where we aren’t quite as careful as we should be. And now they’re doing something about it.

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As part of a test, ODOT is removing its flashing “Prepare to Stop” signs and replacing them with “dilemma zone” detectors.

“Prepare to Stop” signs warn drivers that they’re approaching a traffic light. But ODOT says in many instances, drivers see the signs and speed up, hoping to clear an intersection without stopping at a light.

This tends to cause crashes. And, officials say, the crashes often are more severe because the vehicles strike at higher speeds.

“Dilemma zone” detectors monitor the speed of drivers approaching intersections and often extend the green light so cars can clear the intersection safely.

Sounds like a good idea.

The new detectors are getting tests in areas along U.S. Route 33 in eastern and southern Ohio. The tests are a good idea, because the detectors are pricey, at $10,000 apiece.

It’s wise to determine if they’ll provide the kind of traffic control ODOT is seeking. …

The (Willoughby) News-Herald