SPRING VALLEY TWP. Greene County — Instead of using radar guns from their cars to catch speeders, area law enforcement officers will soon start monitoring several highways in Southwest Ohio, including a stretch of U.S. 42, from the air.
The aim is to reduce the high number of fatal accidents in the region. In Spring Valley Twp. alone, there were 22 or so crashes that have occurred on the highway, between Clear Springs and Spring Valley-Paintersville roads, in the past four years, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
Ohio Department of Transportation crews on Tuesday started preparing the roadways to be monitored from the air by using a propane fueled torch to to apply white air strips to the roads.
The strips are being placed on either side of the yellow lines in the middle of the road, and they’ll act as targets for the pilots from the air.
“So we have a pilot that flies overhead and when a vehicle passes the first white line they start a stopwatch,” said Lt. Matt Schmeak of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “And when the vehicle passes the second line they'll stop (the watch), and with our stop watch has a speed built into (it) and it'll tell exactly how fast the speed of the vehicle is.”
The technology is more accurate than radar guns that officers use from their cars to catch speeders, he said.
Troopers are going to extreme measures to prevent fatal crashes, including one in which two people died on U.S. 42 and Spring Valley-Paintersville Road when they crashed their motorcycle into a car in October, Schmeak said. As a result of such accident, OSHP has been working since February to get the air strips installed, he said.
In addition to watching for speeders from the sky, Troopers and sheriff’s deputies will be posted along the side of the road to pull over speeding and aggressive drivers, Schmeak said.
“And then when we stop them, just take that extra step to go above and beyond, and talk to them and educate them about the issues we've been having in this area,” he said.
In addition to monitoring portions of U.S. 42 from the sky, law enforcement officials will monitor several other highways in Southwest Ohio. Below is a list of the counties and the highways: