Following too closely causes 67K Ohio crashes


OHIO VALLEY — Following too closely was determined to be the cause of more than 100 vehicle crashes in Gallia County last year.

Even though Gallia County checked in with 111 crashes resulting from drivers following the vehicle ahead of them too closely, it wasn’t nearly as many as nearby Lawrence County’s 246 crashes, according to 2014 statistics compiled by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Motorists who don’t leave enough space between vehicles cause far too many crashes in Ohio each year, highway patrol officials said.

This violation, known as following too close or failing to maintain an assured clear distance ahead, was the most frequent cause of crashes overall in Ohio in 2014. In total, 67,886 crashes on Ohio roadways occurred when the at-fault driver was following too closely, resulting in 62 deaths and 27,294 injuries.

“Traffic can be frustrating, but that’s no excuse to endanger yourself and other drivers,” Lt. Max Norris, Gallia/Meigs Post commander, said. “It’s always best for all motorists to maintain a safe following distance.”

Troopers wrote 11,926 citations that included an ACDA violation last year, primarily between the afternoon rush hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. According to OSHP statistics, citations for the infraction have increased every year since 2011, contributing to a 10 percent overall increase.

Jackson County registered 118 crashes while Meigs had among the lowest with 25. Only Morgan (15), Vinton (13) and Noble (10) counties had lower numbers. Paulding County in northwest Ohio also had 25 following-too-closely crashes.

According to OSHP, if a motorist travels at 65 mph, they have traveled nearly the length of a football field in just three seconds. If the vehicle in front of him or her slams on the breaks, and there isn’t enough distance between cars, there’s no way to stop before it’s too late.

In the entire Jackson district, which includes Gallia and Meigs Counties, there were 1,833 crashes a a result of drivers following to closely behind other drivers.

Following too closely was the primary cause of nearly three of every 10 crashes — about 28 percent — in Ohio during all of 2014. Highway patrol officials said this makes it the most frequent cause of crashes overall, as well as the leading cause of injury (28 percent) and property damage (28 percent) crashes.

Norris said following too closely diminishes motorists’ view of the big picture, meaning they are unable to see what is going on further down the roadway. Awareness of one’s surroundings is key to reacting defensively and safely.

To view the entire statistical analysis regarding failure to yield crashes and citations visit www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/FTC_Bulletin_2015.pdf.

The highway patrol asks drivers to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342 EXT. 2102.

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