Ohio, like most other states nationally, is evidencing a downward trend in fatal car accidents and drunk driving crashes over the long term.
It’s the short term that safety regulators point to as being troublesome.
Traffic-related deaths in the state dropped by 14 percent from 2006 to 2010. Fatalities in 2010, however, actually showed a spike upward from the preceding year.
According to statistics released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 1,100 people died in Ohio in 2010 in motor vehicle crashes. What state traffic officials find particularly worrisome in that number is that close to one third of those deaths — 341 fatalities — were directly attributed to a crash with a drunk driver.
And even more troubling, say state officials, is that more than 70 percent of all drunk driving crashes that occur in Ohio involve a really drunk driver — a motorist with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or more.
Doug Scoles is the executive director of MADD in Ohio. Pointing to that statistic, he says that, “We still have an epidemic out there.”
Federal authorities have placed a strong spotlight on impaired driving nationally, coupled with funds available to the states to combat drunk driving activity.
Ohio is receiving its share of those funds and proactively using them in traffic-related law enforcement efforts.
The state recently allocated nearly $2 million of federal grant money it has received, for example, toward the operation of 10 county-wide OVI (Operating a Vehicle while Impaired) task forces. Those police patrols operate sobriety checkpoints and spend extra hours working in locales with demonstrated high levels of DUI activity.
Source: Dayton Daily News, “Drunk driving deaths buck trend with increase,” Kyle Nagel, Aug. 14, 2012
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