Ohio (WTRF) – With Ohio’s fatal crashes involving pedestrians hitting a decade-long peak, the DOT and Governor Mike DeWine have decided to act.

They’re investing more than $50 million into traffic safety improvements across the state—specifically to address accidents involving vehicles leaving the road.

The money will go toward 44 projects in 32 counties, with nearly 60 percent going to local governments for work in their jurisdiction.

The projects in our area include:

  • Noble County: $351,000 for shoulder widening and grading as an addition to a resurfacing project on SR-78
  • Guernsey County: Addition of aggregate shoulder and moving ditch lines away from the edge of pavement on all major collectors in the county
  • Village of Caldwell: Various pedestrian improvements

ODOT reports incidents of drivers side-swiping vehicles after leaving their lane, hitting oncoming traffic or colliding with roadside objects, which cause more than half of all traffic deaths and almost half of serious traffic injuries.

Seven hundred and three people were killed and 3,390 people were seriously hurt in these roadway departure crashes.

Funding will be provided through ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, which puts $158 annually into projects, education and training for road safety.

The department says some projects could start as soon as this year.