CLEVELAND — If you’re noticing more patrol cars on the Ohio Turnpike, it's no accident. The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) is upping its presence in certain spots where they're seeing an increase in accidents because of speeding and distracted driving.
Sergeant Bridget Matt got her patrol car ready for another day on the turnpike, an area where the OSHP is increasing enforcement because of a spike in car accidents.
"It is easy for you to daydream and get into your music and what have you and turn the brain off when you are in autopilot," she said. "There is a tendency for people to speed."
The OSHP says the numbers tell the story.
"In the past five years, from 2018 to 2022, we had over 11,000 crashes on the turnpike alone," Matt said.
In the past two years, there were about 4,500 crashes on the turnpike, 19 of them fatal and 66 of them resulting in serious injuries.
A trip to a construction zone on the turnpike turned into three traffic stops in just 10 minutes. Ferzan Ahmed is the executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and was on site, making sure construction workers were safe.
"I want people to know when they think about construction workers, they should realize these are someone's family, imagine they are members of your family, that is how you should drive through a work zone," he said.
Ahmed said when he learned about the numbers pertaining to crashes and construction workers, he was shocked.
Matt said they don't always issue citations but sometimes give warnings and have conversations with drivers about what comes with speeding.
"When that doesn't work then we make the proactive stops and pull cars over that need to receive a ticket to drive that message home, we would much rather give a speeding ticket to someone than make that notification that someones loved one isn't coming home," she said.