Serious accidents on Ohio 7 in Martins Ferry are nothing new. The most recent crashes, in mid-February and March 6, injured several people, some seriously. One occurred at the Hanover Street intersection, the other a few hundred yards away.
It is the very fact that serious accidents on the highway have been occurring for many years that is troubling to both local and state officials. Attempts have been made to improve safety on the Martins Ferry stretch of Ohio 7 but, clearly, success has been limited.
Mayor Paul Riethmiller reported last week the Ohio Department of Transportation is conducting a three-month study of the traffic light at the Hanover Street intersection. One suggestion has been to use a red arrow on the light to alert motorists who want to turn off Ohio 7 when oncoming traffic has a green light.
That could prevent some accidents, but probably would have little effect on rear-end collisions of the type that have occurred recently.
Obviously, most rear-end collisions happen because one driver hasn't been paying enough attention to notice a vehicle in front of him has slowed or stopped.
In the past, efforts have been made to keep drivers passing through Martins Ferry on Ohio 7 alert to their surroundings, especially dangerous intersections. More needs to be done.
ODOT officials should look at whether signage and, perhaps, more flashing lights are needed to make Ohio 7 safer in Martins Ferry. If something else is not done, the next accident may well involve fatalities.