DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Across the country, the number of fatal crashes on roadways have increased. In Ohio, it is not the case. 

According to the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, Ohio is down 33 fatalities compared to this time in 2021. Before this year, the number of fatalities was on the rise in the state.  

AAA says the new distracted driving law and more enforcement have made a positive change.  Since 2018, Ohio roadway fatalities were increasing from 996 to 1,180 last year. 

As the Miami Valley heads into October, fatal crashes are down 4 percent compared to 2022.

 AAA Public Affairs Manager Kara Hitchens says the new distracted driving law has helped fatal crashes go down, due to punishments that could affect wallets. 

“You know, when people see it in those kind of practical terms where it hits the pocketbook, that’s where you see it’s going to make a difference,” Hitchens said.

In Montgomery County, fatal crashes are also down. The number of fatal crashes went from 47 in 2018 and 42 in 2019. They stayed over 60 the following three years. 

Hitchens feels it has been a combination of great work by law enforcement and the distracted driving law that has made the difference.  

“It had the potential to save lives,” said Hitchens. “And so, we are seeing that we’re attributing some of that decrease in fatalities, traffic fatalities in Ohio to that law going into effect.”

Things are trending in the positive direction locally and statewide, but it’s important to remain vigilant on the roadways.  

“Just pay attention to the road. Pay attention to, you know, what you’re doing and what cars are doing around you. You have to be a defensive driver as well. So it’s not just about what you’re doing, but what other cars are doing, too. So you can have time to react to that,” Hitchens said.

Motorists should also make sure their vehicles are road ready and to wear a seat belt while out on the roads.