COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Since the start of 2018, there have been 57 crash fatalities in Columbus. Franklin County leads the state in the highest number of fatalities. Now, Columbus Police, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol has launched a joint crash reduction effort.
The partnership aims to increase traffic safety awareness and reduce crashes in Columbus.
"There's been a stark increase in fatal and injury crashes,” said Lt. Michael Akers with Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Law enforcement is cracking down on dangerous road behavior.
"A couple of months ago, we were about 20 over our average this time last year. We're definitely up,” said Lt. Paul Weiner with Columbus Police.
Columbus Police, State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation are joining forces and targeting deadly highway spots. Each department is pulling resources and implementing them shift by shift on the freeway.
"What we're going to be doing is partnering in a cooperative effort and we'll be working amongst each other in the city, on the inner states in our high crash areas,” said Akers.
ODOT's role is to remind drivers to slow down.
"We've seen an alarming increase in fatalities in Franklin County alone,” said ODOT District 6 Deputy Director Mitch Blackford. “So, we are going to message on our overhead message boards, message the message of safety."
Police and highway patrol have studied a hot spot map. Now they're targeting where crashes happen most frequently -- together.
"What are those specific crash violations? What time of day? What days of the week? And then we can better deploy our resources,” said Weiner.
Distracted driving and speeding are the lead causes of crashes. However, it's also because more drivers are on the road than ever before as the city's population continues to grow.
"Hopefully when we do that over the course of six months, one or two times a week, three or four hours each shift, it resonates with people," said Weiner.
In six months, the departments will come together and evaluate the progress they’ve made.