Two multiple vehicle pile-ups earlier this week both happened as blinding snow squalls made their way across the Valley.

As conditions deteriorated, PennDOT officials in Pennsylvania did what they routinely do in severe weather, which is to reduce the speed limit on Interstate 80.

But that was not the case in Ohio.  That's because it would take legislative action to allow ODOT the flexibility that PennDOT has.

To avoid multiple vehicle accidents, ODOT has been testing variable speed limits in certain trouble spots, such as I-90 in Lake County. After two winters, it is proving to be successful.

"Since we started that we've had a 58% decrease in injury crashes and a 63% decrease in secondary crashes. And we've not had any massive pile-ups on that corridor of I-90," Matt Bruning of ODOT said.

The program allows ODOT to reduce the speed limit based on forecasts and road conditions. 

"So the idea is we want traffic to be slowed down before they get to those whiteout conditions," Bruning said.

On Tuesday, the speed limit on that section of I-90 was reduced from 70 to 30 miles per hour.  Besides the I-90 corridor, only two other interstate areas around Columbus and Cincinnati allow variable speed programs.

"If we were to expand it throughout the state, we would have to have the legislative authority to do that," Bruning said.  

Based on traffic volume, the Ohio State Patrol Commander in Canfield thinks I-80 would be a good candidate for variable speeds.

 "I definitely think 80 would be a good spot for those as a trial to see if they could work," Lt. Brad Bucey said. 

Justin Harper, a trucker who was refueling in Austintown, thinks it would work on I-80.  "It might. I mean, it doesn't seem like people regard the limits these days."

Bruning says the program is meant to target just areas with a history of problems.  "We would want to study what locations are most appropriate for it and then go from there," he said.