COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio State Highway Safety Patrol has released its statistics from heightened patrolling efforts over the Labor Day weekend.
The results indicate that compared to last year, the number of fatalities were down. However, due to a technical issue, not all traffic incidents were recorded.
According to statistics released on OSP’s social media pages, crashes dropped more than four percent between Sept. 3 and Sept. 6, with 468 being reported during those dates in 2020 and 445 being reported during the same time frame this year. Fatalities, all of which were reported accurately, also fell from 15 in 2020 to 12 this year.
Lt. Matt Schmenk, of the Lebanon’s Highway Patrol post, said while the number of fatalities went down, their aim is to have no traffic deaths on holiday weekends and throughout the rest of the year.
“We are trying to just educate the motoring public out there on the dangers of driving fast, driving at unsafe speeds, because no one plans to get in a traffic crash,” he said.
Schmenk said many of these crashes were the result of distracted driving.
“A lot of people think when we talk about distracted driving, it’s the cell phones,” Schmenk said. “Well yes, cell phones are a big part of it, but you know, you have people out there that are eating while they’re driving. They’re putting on makeup. They’re watching movies in the cars.”
He said numerous drivers were also found to be operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As the next holiday approaches, Schmenk said he’s encouraging drivers to be more intentional and cautious about their decisions behind the wheel.
“Once you get off the highway and you’re getting to your destination where the kids want to go trick or treating, make sure you’re watching for those young kids,” Schmenk said. “Young kids don’t know the rules of the road. They aren’t watching for vehicles so slow down a little bit more. Give yourself more time, watch out for those young kids that are running around because we all want our kids to be safe.”
According to OSP, Franklin County had the most traffic instances, with 864, followed by Portage, Clermont and Warren counties.
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