ODOT hoping to get crashes cleaned up more quickly to save time and lives

The state is hoping to get police, firefighters and tow-truck operators to work together to clear accidents more quickly in an effort to save time and save lives. The Ohio Department of Transportation trained those three disciplines to work together at a meeting today in Reynoldsburg. (WSYX/WTTE)

The state is hoping to get police, firefighters and tow-truck operators to work together to clear accidents more quickly in an effort to save time and save lives. The Ohio Department of Transportation trained those three disciplines to work together at a meeting today in Reynoldsburg.

"In the past, it was, 'shut down the roadway,'" said Carl Merckle with ODOT. "We can't do that anymore."

Merckle said the effort was a way to get the three groups to talk to one another so that each knows what to expect at a crash scene. The state said for every minute that a crash is a hazard, the chance of a secondary crash goes up 2.8-percent. ODOT urged the agencies and operators to communicate, to warn motorists of back-ups sooner and to wear reflective gear to help avoid crashes and injuries.

In 2017 a tow-truck driver and a Columbus police officer were both hurt in a secondary crash on I-670. In 2014, a tow-truck driver was killed in a similar crash. Ron Myers, who owns a towing company in Cambridge was at the meeting today and said crashes are almost inevitable in his line of work.

"It's almost to where its not if someone's going to get hit in your company but when," said Myers.

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