With less traffic during the state shutdown, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) is finding more drivers zooming at top speeds.
One OSHP video shows a car pass by a trooper in a blur on I-77 in Stark County. That driver was clocked at 110 mph.
Another patrol video shows a trooper on the turnpike chasing down a driver doing 105.
In fact, the I-TEAM did some digging and found statewide, just since the COVID-19 crisis began, state troopers have stopped 203 drivers for going more than 100 miles an hour
And, we saw a spike in the percentage of drivers getting tickets for going more than 20 miles over the speed limit. That percentage has tripled.
“Seeing an open roadway is not an invitation to not follow traffic laws,” said OSHP Sgt. Ray Santiago.
Sgt. Santiago told us troopers have cut way back on traffic stops. They hope less contact with people will help slow the spread of the virus. Yet, more speeders are going as fast as they can.
“We’re absolutely obligated to make these traffic stops to keep everyone safe. Since the roads are more open, there’s more opportunity for some of those folks to travel a little bit faster than they usually do. But they also stick out. Those folks are a little bit easier to spot now,” he said.
Investigators point out that speed is a leading cause of serious crashes. But, of course, when drivers get pulled over, we see they hadn’t thought of that.
One traffic stop video shows a trooper asking a driver, “You didn’t know you’re going that fast?”
And, in another, a driver tells a trooper he had just been out visiting some friends. And the trooper responds, “Just coming out here just to visit some friends, I guess you can come out here to go to court.”
The I-TEAM spoke to a Pennsylvania man stopped for driving at 105 mph. He told us he didn’t realize he’d hit 100.
“There was no traffic. I was playing the radio. There was no cars on the highway. I probably wouldn’t have done it if the coronavirus wasn’t around, and there was no cars on the highway,” he admitted.
OSHP says penalties can vary depending on the town. But often, getting caught at top speeds will mean drivers will actually have to show up for court after getting ticketed instead of simply paying a fine.