Holiday roadway fatalities down in Ohio

December 26, 2012

Bob Strickley

PDT Content Manager

While Scioto County was generally spared from the latest hazardous winter weather episode, authorities are still encouraging area motorists to cap 2012 with an emphasis on roadway caution regardless of weather conditions.

Over the two-day Christmas holiday period, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports there were five people killed in traffic-related crashes in the state. Two of those deaths were attributed to impaired driving. There were 48 traffic incidents in Scioto County over the Christmas holiday, 22 in Adams County, 12 in Pike County and 43 in Lawrence County.

In the last four years, overall fatal crashes during that same time period have continued to drop in Ohio. There were 15 fatalities in 2009, 14 in 2010 and eight in 2011.

OSHP superintendent Col. John Born said some of the drop can be attributed to more stringent enforcement.

“We are seeing positive results from the hard work of our troopers on the road everyday removing impaired and dangerous drivers from the roadways,” Born said.

In between Dec. 24, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2012, eight people died in Ohio OVI-related accidents.

In Kentucky, 11 people died in five different accidents in the period between Dec. 21 and Dec. 25. Overall roadway fatalities are higher in 2012 than they were during through the same stretch in 2011, according to the Kentucky State Police.

ODOT District 9 released a statement Wednesday while much of the state was blanketed with snow and ice.

“ODOT crews will continue patrolling and treating routes throughout the district as needed, but motorists are advised of the need for additional caution,” the release read. “Drivers need to reduce their speed and allow additional travel time, and they need to pay heed when traveling over bridges and overpasses, which have colder surface temperatures and freeze more quickly.”

ODOT’s concern is that the mild winter of 2011-2012 may leave motorist’s winter weather driving techniques lacking.

“Because of last year’s mild winter, many of Ohio’s motorists haven’t driven in significant ice and snow in about 20 months,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

The department urged drivers to plan ahead, ensure the vehicle is suitable for winter travel by removing snow and ice, allow for more driving time and leave your headlights on.

For updates on road conditions and safe driving tips visit dot.state.oh.us.

Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 296, or bstrickley@heartlandpublications.com.