Over the next few months, the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to install signs at some exits to warn drivers when they go the wrong way onto state and interstate highways. That may be the best Ohioans can expect from an agency that doesn't seem to think wrong-way crashes are a serious problem.
The transportation department often is driven by statistics. Got a dangerous rural intersection? A railroad crossing without a gate? A stretch of state highway where the posted speed limit is too high? ODOT has a study for that.
The result can be detachment from the anguish of families that have lost loved ones in traffic accidents. That may be necessary, but it's disturbing.
There have been several wrong-way driving incidents along Interstate 75 in the Toledo area in recent years. Wrong-way drivers caused two accidents within 11 days in March that claimed the lives of six people, including three Bowling Green State University students.
An ODOT spokesman who discussed the sign upgrades sounded actuarial. She described wrong-way crashes as "infrequent," but conceded they are "more likely to produce serious injuries and fatalities." That's the way you talk when death is a statistic. The families of people killed and injured in these crashes likely would say that one accident is too frequent.
Maybe ODOT jobs should depend on stopping wrong-way drivers. Maybe bureaucrats should visit accident scenes to see what statistics look like when they are scattered across the highway. Perhaps they might not sound so dismissive.