Many keep an eye on the horizon for troopers as they drive, but the Ohio State Highway Patrol may be watching you from the sky. WHIZ’s Katie Jeffries has the story.
While troopers will be looking for speeding drivers on the road this holiday weekend, their greatest asset is in the sky. The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Aviation Unit will be out in full force.
“Labor day has traditionally been known as one of the deadlier summer travel weekends. Last year there were 18 fatalities reported during Labor Day weekend, four of those being alcohol related,” explains Lt. Chad Neal of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
It is tools like these planes that will help keep you safe this holiday weekend. So just because you don’t see a trooper on the ground doesn’t mean they aren’t watching you from the sky.
Pilots use time and distance to calculate the speed of drivers. White hash marks visible from the air indicate every quarter mile and the pilot times a car as it passes each mark. The stopwatches used are held to the strictest standards, so no mistakes are made. The pilot also keeps an unwavering visual on the car until the ground trooper can pull them over.
These planes assist in around 1,500 traffic citations each year. Even in only the 30 minutes we were in the air, Trooper Hasty assisted ground units in pulling over three cars that were all doing at least 20 mph over the speed limit. Hasty says these planes are available to any law enforcement agency for no cost.
“We will be anywhere that the Post needs us, so every available pilot will be out in full force assisting the ground units and reducing our traffic fatality picture,” says Trooper Pilot Christopher Hasty.
Troopers say people are often shocked to find out a plane caught them speeding.
“A lot of people will say they don’t believe the air plane exists. They want to see the airplane, if it is within our possiblity we will turn an extra circle and see them. There has been the occasional commercial driver that has wanted us to land on the interstate and see our stopwatches and obviously that is not going to happen,” tells Trooper Pilot Hasty.
For these troopers it is all about keeping people alive. So buckle up and drive safe because you never know who is watching.
For WHIZ News, I’m Katie Jeffries