Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Patrol reports rural fatalities down for second straight year
Projections also indicate decrease in alcohol-related deaths

COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reporting that for the second straight year in Ohio, rural traffic fatalities, which account for nearly 66 percent of all traffic deaths, have decreased. Provisional data also indicates that alcohol-related fatalities have declined by 20 percent in 2007.

Patrol analysis shows that while rural fatalities have steadily decreased, traffic fatalities in Ohio’s large metropolitan areas continue to increase. Rural traffic fatalities have decreased 4 percent, while urban traffic fatalities have increased 8 percent over the past year. Provisional totals show traffic fatalities from 2007 will be near the record low of 1,239 fatalities set in 2006. Officials caution that with pending cases and reports, the number may fluctuate slightly before final figures are released later this year.

“Recent trends indicate that we are making progress in our efforts to make Ohio’s highways safer,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Henry Guzmán. “The efforts of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other safety partners like local law enforcement and other state agencies have played a critical role in reducing fatalities, but motorists can also make an important contribution to safety by buckling up and driving safe and sober at all times.”

To combat the increase in urban traffic fatalities, the Highway Patrol worked in Cincinnati and Cleveland during 2007 in separate initiatives specifically designed to curtail metro traffic fatality increases. In both cities, during the times when state troopers worked in the metro areas, significant decreases in traffic crashes occurred, indicating a change in driving behavior as a result of the Patrol’s partnerships with local law enforcement. These initiatives use a combination of high- visibility enforcement, OVI deterrence and public education campaigns to effectively promote safer driving and in effect lower crash and fatality rates.

“Ohio is experiencing lower traffic fatality rates in rural areas. These traffic fatalities effect the quality of life for residents and travelers who utilize Ohio roadways,” Colonel Richard H. Collins, Patrol superintendent, said. “These metro initiatives have proven successful in lowering crashes and deaths and that is why we plan to continue our metro initiatives with local law enforcement in urban areas during 2008.”


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