Ohio snowplows involved in 80 crashes this winter

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio snowplows have been involved in 80 crashes so far this winter, with other drivers causing most of them, state transportation officials say.

Plow crashes are up from the past two winters, but the total so far is still less than the 2010-2011 season’s when plows drove fewer miles but were involved in 108 wrecks, the Ohio Department of Transportation said.

Transportation department spokesman Steve Faulkner told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1hOhgE4 ) that of the 80 crashes this winter, 58 were the fault of the other drivers.

The agency started using green flashing lights in addition to yellow beacons two years ago to make its plows more visible. A public-awareness campaign is aimed at alerting drivers to the dangers of driving too close to the trucks.

“We do everything we can to minimize (crashes),” Faulkner said. But “any time you get 1,600 snowplows on Ohio’s highways with some of the most dangerous wintry conditions, there are going to be times when a vehicle may come into contact with another vehicle.”

None of the state’s snowplows has been involved in a fatal crash this season.

Plow crashes have been reported from Colorado to New York, including one that killed a pregnant woman whose baby was born by cesarean section in New York City.

With heavy snowfall starting in early December, state-owned plows have been driven about 11.9 million miles this winter, compared with 9.2 million miles all of last winter.

The state is testing cameras on the outside of six plows to give plow drivers more information about what’s going on nearby. The cameras are positioned on the side or back of the plows.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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