CLEVELAND - Aggressive drivers, distracted drivers, drunken drivers. All of those drivers are combining to drive up the number of fatal crashes. That's why the Ohio State Highway Patrol has moved into Cleveland permanently with 12 troopers.
The OSHP opened its first full-time post in Cleveland in June.
"We've noticed that in the rural areas, the fatality rate is staying steady but in the metropolitan areas the fatal rate is very high. So we're here to assist the local police on combating the fatality rate," explained Sgt. John Miller.
Sixty-one people died in crashes in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County combined in 2010, 56 in 2011 and 50 people last year.
Five people have died so far in 2013 in Cuyahoga County crashes.
Now a rash of pileups is cause for concern.
"There's a lot of reasons for those large pileups. One is speed of course," Sgt. Miller said.
Icy roads can be dangerous and lead to spin outs and accidents, but massive pileups should not be happening if people would slow down in bad weather and not follow so closely troopers say.
"You're not giving yourself enough reaction time in case something does happen in front of you. As a result, you get the multiple vehicle pileups," said Sgt. Miller.
So how much distance should there be between you and the next car or truck in front of you?
"It's one car length for every 10 miles per hour that you're driving," Sgt. Miller explained. At 60 miles per hour on the highway, you would want six vehicle lengths between you and the car ahead. If the weather is bad, allow even more distance troopers advised.
Rude, self centered, just don't care, there are many reasons some people drive so aggressively. But those drivers should beware: troopers are cracking down and say being safe on the roads is not rocket science.
“It’s simple -- slow down," Sgt. Miller said.
Whiteouts can also be a factor in the snow belt. Troopers at least doubled the amount of tickets they wrote last year in Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina and Lake counties.
Just in Cuyahoga County, troopers made more than 500 drunken driving arrests.
This time, their focus is also on aggressive drivers and speeders.
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