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CLEVELAND -- If you have a lead foot, this is news you've been waiting for: some Ohio highways now top out at 70 miles per hour.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say it's not exactly an invitation to speed up.

"We knew the change was coming," said Lt. Bill Haymaker.

You might notice the signs, or the slight speed-up in your lane along on 570 miles of Ohio highways.

"It's just business as usual with us. We're going to enforce the 70- mile-an-hour speed limit law, just like we do the 65, the 55, and all the other speed limit laws," said Haymaker.

And enforce them Lt. Bill Haymaker did, citing a driver going 81 in the new 70 zone along I-71 in Medina during a Channel 3 News ride-along.

"It's too fast. If she'd lose control at 81 miles per hour, injuring herself, injuring somebody out here, she's got a passenger in there," he said.

The driver told Haymaker she was not aware of the new speed limit change, meaning she thought she was traveling 16 miles per hour more than the speed limit.

How will faster speeds affect us all? In two years on the turnpike, the Ohio Department of Transportation found it attracted more truck traffic and more crashes.

Your reaction times are slower and your stopping distance much greater.

"When people do crash, the faster you're going, the more chance of being an injury crash as opposed to a maybe a fender bender," said Haymaker.

But slow travel can be more dangerous than speeding on the highway. If you don't feel comfortable at 70, don't push yourself, he says. Take a different route.

But Lt. Haymaker says stick with the traffic flow or find another route. Slow travel can be more dangerous than speeding.
"If traffic's flowing at 70, or 65, whatever the speed limit is, I think that's the safest," he said.

One other impact Haymaker expects is residually higher speeds on secondary roads for people who get used to the higher speeds on the highway.

Attached is a map of the changes along I-71, I-90 in eastern Lake and Ashtabula counties and I-76 in Portage County. Parts of I-75 and I-77 also affected.

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