MOUNT GILEAD — According to Lt. Chad McGinty, commander of the Mount Gilead Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, increased traffic enforcement efforts on Ohio 3/U.S. 36 are paying off.
“Citations are up and traffic crashes are coming down,” McGinty said of the efforts initiated in the county last September by the OSHP.
White lines painted on the pavement to help troopers in OSHP planes determine the speed of motorists by timing the distance vehicles travel between the lines, were one of the tools added to the OSHP’s enforcement arsenal.
McGinty said most of the citations written are for speed violations, but also involve tickets for lane violations including left of center, following too closely, stop sign violations and failure to wear safety belts.
The increased citations written for speeding are because so many accidents are caused by speed violators, McGinty said.
“The lion’s share are speed violations,” the lieutenant said, adding that the increased enforcement efforts are not going away any time soon.
“Unfortunately, the message is not getting across [the entire county],” McGinty said. “We’re continuing to experience a crash problem in Knox County.”
McGinty points to the five traffic fatalities in Knox County since late December, which he said illustrate the continuing crash problem in the county.
“We are sending the majority of our resources to Knox County everyday,” McGinty said.
In the past, he said, two of the four troopers on duty would be assigned to Knox County and two in Morrow. Most shifts now find three of the four troopers on the road in Knox County.
He said the increased number of fatalities and injury accidents in recent months have motivated the OSHP to redirect more resources to the areas of Knox County where these crashes occur.
McGinty also said some motorists have realized the routes where more troopers are patrolling the road, and those drivers are using alternate routes to get to their destinations.
“They know we’re on 36 so they’re going to Johnstown Road,” McGinty. “So now we are on Johnstown Road, and we will continue to look.”
McGinty said increased speed along with winter driving conditions can be a deadly combination.
Continuing to initiate new ways to keep motorists safe in Knox County is a high priority for troopers at the post, and McGinty personally.
“We’re flooding Knox County with our resources until I’m satisfied that we’ve gotten our arms around the crash problem,” he said.