Toll road deadly in Indiana

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Toll road is Indiana’s deadliest highway
State police to double patrols on Interstate 90
By Frank Polich/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Associated Press Story
Published: Chicago Sun-Times
August 15, 2006

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Millions of drivers use the Indiana Toll Road each year, but high speeds and traffic can make for dangerous travel: the highway ranks first in the state in deaths per mile, a newspaper found.

The South Bend Tribune reported this week that 19 people were killed on the toll road in 2005, and 11 have died this year on the 157-mile corridor that the state recently leased to a private Spanish-Australian company to operate. The numbers show the road, Interstate 90, is first in deaths per mile compared with other interstates in Indiana, according to the newspaper’s analysis of Indiana Department of Transportation data.

Earlier this month, a semi plowed into a line of vehicles stopped in a construction zone, killing the truck driver and four members of one family riding in a van, state police said.

Officials said the accident is a reminder of how traffic, high speeds, construction and distracted driving can combine to make the road dangerous.

More than 10 million vehicles, including many tractor-trailers, use the toll road each year, according to INDOT. And although the speed limit is 70 mph, many drive faster.

Officials hope better semi inspections and more patrols will help. In July, state police said money from the state’s 75-year lease agreement will allow the agency to increase the number of troopers patrolling the toll road from around 20 to more than 40. Nineteen people died on Interstate 90 in 2005.

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