It's safer to put trucks on turnpike


Marilou Johanek's Dec. 16 op-ed column, “For the sake of public safety, don't raise turnpike speeds,” only covered part of the story. Contrary to what she implied, moving traffic onto the Ohio Turnpike and off parallel rural routes is a matter of safety.

Designed with gradual curves and gentle grades, the turnpike is an interstate highway that can accommodate larger, heavier vehicles traveling at higher speeds. There are 26 states with uniform speed limits at or above 70 mph.

Ms. Johanek's column cited data that covered only an 18-month period after the increase in the commercial vehicle speed limit in 2004. Long-term data show that the accident rate involving commercial vehicles has dropped by 6.4 percent since the speed limit was increased.

More important, the fatality rate has decreased by 15.3 percent. Fatalities are horrible and we strive daily to provide a safe route for motorists to travel. However, with millions of customers using the Ohio Turnpike every year, accidents and fatalities are unfortunate and inevitable.

As Ms. Johanek accurately indicates, accidents are caused by any number of factors, such as adverse weather, sleepy drivers, and distractions. So it is not a fair assessment to state that an increase in speed is the sole reason for an increase in accidents. Other data and conditions must be factored into the equation.

Furthermore, recent speed surveys on the turnpike reveal that the average speed of commercial vehicles is 1 mph above the posted limit, not 5 to 10 mph as she stated.

Increasing the speed limit on the Ohio Turnpike is not an effort to increase revenue. Although an increase in traffic would result in an increase in revenue, the true benefit to more traffic using the turnpike is safety: getting vehicles off congested, rural, two-lane country roads and onto the safer, well-maintained, well-designed Ohio Turnpike.

Joseph Balog


Ed Kidston


Ohio Turnpike Commission Berea, Ohio

Editor's Note: The Turnpike Commission voted 4-1 Monday to raise the turnpike speed limit to 70 mph for all vehicles.

What is the matter with people today? We were brought up better than what is displayed. Our parents would never have allowed us to leave our home without being properly dressed, or enter a room or place of worship without removing our cap.

Are we so cavalier that our children are permitted to wear their pants below their waist, so that they look and walk as though they have a full load? When did it become the norm to overlook a young man's entrance into a home or a church without removing his hat or cap?

Have we become so complacent that we let this behavior continue as OK, when it is not OK? Parents, it starts with you. It is time for a change.

Marie Irons

Western Avenue

The Dec. 20 editorial cartoon by Dana Summers calling “military intelligence” an oxymoron was wrong. As a military dad, I thank God we have military intelligence.

The military has defended this country and allowed you to print your left-wing propaganda for the past 175 years. You should be supporting our troops, not demeaning them.

Rick Allen


Instead of printing your 175th anniversary commemorative edition, you could have printed a year's worth of full television listings at no extra cost to your subscribers.

Rebecca Mallin


When will someone tell the President that there is no middle class? Mr. Obama said the new tax bill was passed for the middle class, but the middle class vanished a long time ago.

Looking back to when times were good and jobs were plentiful, middle-class people bought the same things as rich folks. When the wealthy saw that the garbageman was eating dinner at the country club, jobs moved out of this country.

The middle class is supposed to like the new tax bill. When Mr. Obama was running for president, he promised us jobs, lower unemployment, ends to the wars, and more credibility.

You can throw all those promises out the window.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans is where they sit when they vote for these bills.

Jim Kurek

Ivy Place

The Nov. 28 Readers' Forum letter “Liberal arts drive economy” takes issue with the assertion in your Nov. 21 editorial “Imagine this” that math and science serve as the engines of economic growth.

Earlier this year, an article in Newsweek magazine defended the relevance of a liberal arts education by asserting that scientific discovery has become so specialized that perhaps only the broadly educated are able to step back and recognize opportunities to connect findings that might otherwise remain quarantined among technical experts.

In a recent study, co-authors and I examined the relationship between self-employment and an education in science, engineering, technology, or math (STEM). Using a large government data set, we found that graduates of non-STEM disciplines are more likely to be self-employed than graduates of STEM disciplines. However, when self-employed, STEM graduates tend to be the owner of or a partner in larger organizations.

This finding does not in any way answer the question about the dominance of the liberal arts or math and science as the engine of economic growth. But it does suggest that a dynamic economy has a place and a need for both.

David McClough

Assistant Professor of Economics

Ohio Northern University

Ada, Ohio

Regardless of their parentage, people who have lived here all their lives and are linguistically and culturally American are American, and laws should acknowledge this fact (“Redeem the dream,” editorial, Dec. 5).

I would encourage my representatives to vote for the Dream Act, although the reality of these folks being our countrymen ought not to be conditioned upon their going to college or serving in the military.

If they're PhD's, they're American PhD's, and if they're criminals, they're American criminals. But if a bill passes that makes citizenship possible, it will likely be because it appeals to our sense of magnanimity. That good feeling of granting citizenship to people who are not quite fully entitled to it is bound up in those conditions.

Otherwise, a 1-year-old who is deported with his or her parents should be no more entitled to citizenship because the child was born a week after the family came here than if the child had been born a week before.

Changing the 14th Amendment to reflect this logic would cause more rancor than it's worth. But if we were starting from scratch, mere birth on American soil ought not to be a sufficient qualification for citizenship.

Ron Tuohy

Bowen Road

I recall many happy days of going to the Bronze Boar and sitting on a comfortable couch, with a Guinness in one hand and a cigar in the other (“Nightlife burned out over smoking,” Readers' Forum, Dec. 16).

You could do that, believe it or not.

Paul Wroe

309th Street