Road Patrols In Ohio May Be Taking To The Air Soon

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Habitual traffic offenders tend to believe that they have mastered the art of avoiding law enforcement officers and will not hesitate to break the law as soon as they think there are no police in sight. But that could soon be a thing of the past in Ohio as the state’s Highway Patrol takes to the sky. 

According to a local news outlet in Cleveland, the State Highway Patrol is testing out the efficacy of air patrol in Fairfield County. If successful, the air patrol will be rolled out to ten counties by the end of this year. 

It Is All Worth It

Patrol planes are fitted with GPS, a camera mapping system, and a speed measurement system. According to highway patrol officials, the pilot will maintain an orbit over a specific area of interest while looking out for erratic driving behavior. The tactical flight officer will also do the same thing; zooming the camera in and out, checking unsafe lane changes, reckless speeds, passing on the berm, aggressive driving, etc. 

This approach seems quite futuristic and expensive, considering the highway patrol will need to conduct the patrol in every county. Justin Cromer, the Ohio state highway patrol commander, aims to keep Ohio residents safe. 

According to highway patrol statistics, Ohio roads have taken approximately 1,200 lives every year since 2017, with 2021 fatalities breaking a 20-year record. Having a set of eyes in the sky will mean safer roads for the average Ohio resident. According to Cromer, the goal is to catch aggressive drivers who are primarily responsible for fatal accidents.

Common Causes of Accidents

The Ohio highway patrol hopes they will not have to arrest anybody through the air patrol. Instead, they expect the state’s residents to beat them to the punch and behave better on the roads when they realize someone could be watching. 

In 2020 Ohio recorded a total of 165,812 accidents. Out of these, 16,157 were alcohol-related, 7,873 were distracted driver-related, and 20,403 were excessive speeds-related. “Drivers who operate their vehicles carelessly, disregarding the safety of others, or who drive at such a high speed to endanger others may be found guilty of reckless driving,” says criminal lawyer David Benowitz

It Is Not New But Better

Air patrol is not a new thing in Ohio. Still, it is only now that the state’s highway patrol intends to intensify the patrols and incorporate digital technology into the efforts. Trooper Milan Milosevic has been patrolling northeast Ohio in a Cessna 182 fixed-wing plane for the past 11 years. 

According to Milosevic, spotting speeders up in the sky is pretty easy since the quarter miles markers are visible from 2000 feet above the ground. To estimate a driver’s speed, one only needs to calculate the time spent between one highway marker to the other. 

Once a pilot establishes that the speed is 20 mph above the posted speed limit, they can radio patrol teams on the ground while still keeping track of the speeding drivers. With the highway patrol having thirteen fixed-wing planes, three helicopters, and advanced technology, Milosevic is optimistic the efforts will bear fruit. 

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