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Police, troopers still seeing drivers hit excessive speeds despite more drivers on the road

So far this year, there have been 1,153 fatal crashes statewide, with about a third of the crashes being speed-related. Last year, there were 1,068 fatal crashes.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Law enforcement across Ohio says the trend of drivers speeding on highways during the pandemic hasn’t let up even as roads are becoming more crowded with more people being out in public.

Early on in the pandemic, with most people staying home, roads were empty and conditions were ripe for the few cars on the road to push speed limits.

Now, concern among police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol has grown now that the increased speeding will create conditions for more fatal crashes.

CrimeTracker 10 obtained Columbus police dash camera video from October that shows a couple of cars, surrounded by motorcycles flying down I-70. An officer trying to catch up to the vehicles can be heard saying they are going 145 miles per hour.

“What we are getting is, we are getting high speeds for both enforcement and we are getting a lot more injury crashes where people are getting hurt,” said Columbus Police Officer Robert Barrett, who patrols the freeways.

According to Columbus police, every year since 2017, the number of major crashes and fatal crashes has steadily increased.

“A guy crossing over four lanes of traffic to get off the off-ramp (86 mph), that's uncalled for, that's what causes accidents,” Barrett said while he watched cars on I-270 near Easton.

Barrett is one of those concerned officers.

“Pre-pandemic I was running across 100 mile per hour speed maybe once every three months. A lot of the speeds we were seeing were slightly above the speed limit. Nowadays I'm hitting 100 mph speeds almost on a weekly basis,” Barrett said.

He took CrimeTracker10’s Lacey Crisp to Easton where he said speeding, even in the middle of the day, has become a major problem.

“106 on that motorcycle,” Barrett said as he showed the speed on the radar detector.

Drivers testing the speed limits isn’t just happening on highways in the Columbus area.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has also warned about increasing speeds and risks for fatal crashes.

They keep track of every fatal crashes in the state.

So far this year, there has been 1,153 fatal crashes statewide, with about a third of the crashes being speed-related. Last year, there were 1,068 fatal crashes.

“You do that kind of speed, you are going to kill yourself or someone else,” Barrett said.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently awarded $23 million to go towards statewide initiatives to improve traffic safety and reduce traffic-related fatalities.

In total, more than 170 grants were awarded to 132 local agencies in 66 counties and to 10 agencies for statewide programming.

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