Turnpike over twice as safe as other Ohio interstates

January 12, 2012
By Peter Samuel

Despite scaremongering about an increase in the speed limit to 70mph in  the spring of 2011 the Ohio Turnpike remained one of the safest roads in the region and fatalities for the year at six continued a downward trend. The fatality number hasn't been this low in any year since the Turnpike opened.

Compared to that six deaths on the Turnpike in 2011 the average rural Interstate around the country with a rate of 9 deaths per billion miles traveled should have seen about 25 deaths (2.76bVMTx9fats/bVMT). By that measure 19 people owed their lives to the better driving, better design, better maintenance, better rest-stops, better policing and a third lane, as compared with untolled roads.

Ohio has safer rural Interstates than the average around the US with about six fatalities per billion miles traveled. By that measure an average rural Ohio Interstate would have seen 16 or 17 deaths (2.76x6) on the vehicle miles traveled on the Turnpike last year, so 10 or eleven lives were saved.

The overall speed limit on the Turnpike was raised April 1 2011 from 65mph to 70mph, and the Turnpike Commission took heat from a safety lobby that thinks 70mph is unsafe.

Deaths on roads like the Turnpike are so rare relative to the number of trips that chance moves numbers randomly by large proportions so trends need time to be clearly discerned. But the news clearly is: so far, so good with the higher speed limit.

Per billion vehicle miles traveled on the Turnpike deaths were just under 2.2 in 2011, well down on the average of 3.9 for the previous ten years.

Nationwide on all roads the fatality rate in 2010 was 10.9/bVMT, a decline from 15/bVMT ten years ago.

By road type, rural interstates like the Ohio Turnpike have a fatality rate about 20% better than roads generally. About 9 persons die per billion miles traveled, which means that at 2.2 the Ohio Turnpike has a death rate about a quarter that of rural expressway type roads.

Put another way, on 2011 numbers it is about four times as safe as highways of its class around the country and about 2.7 times as same as similar rural Interstates in Ohio.

Crash rates on the Turnpike have not changed over the years, but obviously the severity of crashes has much declined.

overall national accident rates for 2010:

http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

fatalities by highway type 2009 - we deducted about 10% for the drop 2009 to 2011:

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2009/fi30.cfm

TOLLROADSnews 2012-01-10


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