Ware urges: “Drive Sober”

By Frank Lewis

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The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” this Labor Day weekend.

ODOT, along with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, is participating in the ‘Drive Sober’ campaign to reduce alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths.

“Changing dangerous behaviors, like impaired driving, will undoubtedly save lives,” ODOT Director Jerry Wray said.

During the 2014 Labor Day weekend, there were 12 fatalities on Ohio’s highways, including seven that were alcohol-related. There were 176 alcohol-related crashes resulting in 107 injuries.

The River Days weekend brings an extra reason for people to drive with care in the city of Portsmouth.

“The Labor Day weekend is the last long weekend of the summer season and culminates with the River Days festival. The police department will have extra officers on duty throughout the weekend to ensure that festival goers and motorists are safe throughout the weekend,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “We will be doing all we can to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, especially on Saturday night with a large crowd anticipated for the riverfront concert and the big race at Portsmouth Raceway Park. All race spectators and concert goers are strongly encouraged to drink responsibly and have a sober driver. Our officers will be stationed throughout the city seeking out those who choose to drive impaired.”

Another event that can bring about a few traffic problems is the annual River Days parade.

“During the parade, all northbound U.S. 23 truck traffic will be required to follow State route 73/104 to U.S. 52, in order to avoid the parade,” Ware said. “Northbound U.S. 23 cars will be directed to Washington Street.”

Alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013. Of the 10,076 people who died in drunk driving crashes that year, 68 percent were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher – nearly twice the legal limit.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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