It might be a few days late, but officials with the Ohio
Turnpike have decided to give a great big Valentine to truckers traveling
through the state.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Ohio Turnpike Commission voted to
keep the speed limit for trucks at 65 mph – the same speed as four-wheeler
traffic on most areas of the turnpike, and 10 mph faster than truck speeds on
all other roads in the state – despite a report given by the Ohio Highway
Patrol that found a correlation between higher truck speeds and an increase in
According to the patrol’s report, speed increases led to a
24-percent increase in total crashes, and a 40 percent increase in truck
crashes. However, turnpike officials said the patrol’s report compared
incomparable time periods to produce inflated statistics, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
The commission also voted to continue an 18-month pilot
program in the state that reduces the toll rate for trucks. Originally, the
program was scheduled to end in July; now, it will extend to the end of the
year, according to the Plain Dealer.
The raised speed rule originally took effect Sept. 8, 2004.
Another rule, which cut the turnpike’s share of diesel sales revenue to enable
fuel stops along the route to offer diesel up to 11 cents a gallon cheaper than
nearby stations, went into effect in September of the same year.
State lawmakers introduced the incentive program as a way to
steer truck traffic back onto the toll road, after an 82 percent toll increase
in 1999 drove truckers off onto overloaded two-lane roads.
“By moving trucks to the turnpike, we will reduce the truck
traffic on these smaller routes, improve safety and shrink congestion levels
that often gridlock many of our northern Ohio communities,” Gov. Bob Taft said
in a written statement in 2004.