Ohio traffic deaths still rising
Despite two months of extra patrols to target high crash areas, the rate of Ohio traffic fatalities has risen to 14 percent above last year, mirroring a national trend.Through Aug. 8, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 654 confirmed fatalities compared to 574 through this date in 2011. If the 39 provisional, unconfirmed deaths which are not yet official are factored in, the increase from last year leaps to 21 percent."We did have a very successful year in 2011 through a lot of hard work and motorists paying attention and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies," OSHP Lt.
fake ray bans Anne Ralston said of last year’s record low 1,015 traffic deaths. "It’s been unfortunate for the trend to change this year."Using just the official, confirmed numbers, Ohio is on pace for 1,073 traffic fatalities. If the rate of unconfirmed deaths is added in, that number jumps to nearly 1,150. Plus, Labor Day weekend usually results in a spike in fatal accidents.In early June, the state patrol assigned three roving tactical squads of three troopers and a sergeant per group to target high crash areas. The extra patrols, which were accomplished by reallocating resources that didn’t cause shortages elsewhere, are scheduled to continue through September."We’re continuing to work hard and target those crash causing violations in order to try to get hold of these numbers and get them to stop continuing to rise," Ralston said.Traffic deaths are up
cheap ray bans in several area counties. While Montgomery County has seen two fewer deaths than this time in 2011, Warren and Preble counties are each up seven fatalities, Butler and Darke counties are each up six, Clark is up three and Miami and Greene are up two each.The counties with the most traffic fatalities in 2012 are Franklin (37), Hamilton (31), Cuyahoga (28) and Montgomery (23).Ralston said the OSHP can’t pinpoint exact reasons for the increased fatalities. Despite a 2011 staffing level of 1,073 that Ralston called a 125 trooper "personnel hole" below old numbers, enforcement stops are up. So is seat belt enforcement, OVI enforcement and nearly every other category the agency tracks.So far in 2012, there have been 346,105 enforcement stops, up 14 percent from last year. OVI stops are at 14,578, a 7 percent increase and seat belt enforcement stops are at 60,199, up nearly 14 percent.OVI related traffic deaths are down 27 percent, but Ralston cautions those numbers are provisional and there is a lag time for final reports on drug and alcohol tests."I think we are having a significant impact on the OVI related crashes," Ralston said. "But it’s a good news, bad news situation. Other causes (of fatals include) driving left of center, running stop signs or stoplights, driving impaired and crashes that are otherwise survivable (safety belts)."Ralston said multiple fatality crashes have been a factor, with one incident killing five people, two that killed four people, three triple fatalities and 46 double fatalities.There also doesn’t appear to be very many areas that fatal crashes are happening on a historical basis. The crash maps show traffic deaths are occurring in urban and rural settings and in many areas of the counties. She said motorcycle fatalities are up 3 percent."Until we get back and get a full year’s worth of data and see what the leading causes are, no, I can’t tell you at this time," Ralston said of the rise in traffic deaths.A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration early estimate of 2012’s first three months shows 7,630 people died in motor vehicle crashes, compared to 6,720 deaths in the first quarter of 2011. That represents a 13.5 percent increase.Preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles traveled in that time frame of 2012 increased 9.7 billion miles, or 1.4 percent above 2011. Both the federal and Ohio’s rates show a reversal of the downward trend of traffic deaths in recent years.Distracted driving may be an added factor, but data isn’t yet available to test that hypothesis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a strategy to address the growing practice of drivers using cell phones behind the wheel. Pilot programs expanding the "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" campaign in California and Delaware will receive $2.4 million in federal support."Distracted driving is an epidemic," LaHood said. "While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured and we can put an end to it."Ohio passed a distracted driver law this year, but like seat belts, it is a secondary offense except for minors, meaning law enforcement officers need another reason to stop drivers who violate the law after it
discount ray bans goes into effect Aug. 30.Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police supported the legislation, but Ohio FOP president Jay McDonald said he would have preferred a texting ban being a primary offense for all drivers: "You’re asking a law enforcement officer to determine at 30 mph whether someone is under 18 or not, so that’s a challenge."Ralston said the OSHP tries to attack driver behavior through education, enforcement and engineering. Troopers give talks at schools, county fairs and drivers’ intervention classes which go along with media campaigns. Troopers report any roads with inherent unsafe conditions and monitor construction zones."It boils down to the person that’s behind the wheel," Ralston said. "We need to make good decisions and wear our safety belts and obey the traffic laws and be patient."Ohio is routinely in the bottom eight states when it comes to passing 15 basic traffic safety laws, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. That group said Ohio is missing a primary enforcement seat belt law, an all rider motorcycle helmet law, a recommended booster seat law, three of seven teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, mandatory blood alcohol testing for drivers who survive and an all driver text messaging restriction.During the economic downturn, the Ohio State Highway Patrol stopped churning out classes of new troopers. That has led to a 125 person shortage and although a class of 40 will graduate later this month, they won’t really have an impact until 2013.Ralston said she hopes two big classes will follow, but their impact will come only after a 20 week course and three more months of field training. Even though enforcement is up, she said having even more troopers on roads can elicit safer driving behaviors.Ohio traffic deaths are officially up 14 percent above this time period in 2011. Through Aug. 8, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 654 confirmed fatalities. This time last year, the state had 574. If the 39 additional unconfirmed deaths are added, the increase grows to 21 percent above 2011, which did see a record low (1,015) in traffic deaths.While the OSHP won have a full report on 2012 until midway through next year, there are some key numbers from
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