Montgomery County has seen Ohio’s biggest increase in traffic fatalities in 2013 as similar deaths across the state decline.
The county has seen 22 traffic fatalities so far in 2013 — nine more than the 13 from the same time frame in 2012. Only 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties have more traffic deaths than last year. Cuyahoga County has the second-biggest increase in traffic deaths with five more than this time last year. Franklin County and Hamilton County are each down 15 deaths from this time last year.
Montgomery County’s increase goes against the statewide pattern which shows that, even including provisional deaths not yet official, Ohio has had 309 traffic fatalities through May 23 compared to 414 through this time last year.
“It’s definitely an area that we’ve been keeping an eye on since earlier this year,” said Lt. Anne Ralston of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It has been trending ahead opposite of what we’re seeing in the rest of the state.”
OSHP Lt. Mark Nichols of the Dayton Post said no common theme has emerged from the data with regard to the number or cause of the fatal crashes such as speed, drunk driving or construction zones. However, Nichols said that at least 11 of the fatal crashes involved a lack of seat belt use. At least three of the county’s fatal crashes killed two people.
“We are currently running a seat belt enforcement initiative within the Click-it-or-ticket nationwide campaign,” Nichols said. “We have maximum manpower scheduled through the Memorial Day weekend.”
Memorial Day weekend is traditionally dangerous on Ohio roads, especially for impaired driving crashes. Last Memorial Day holiday, seven of the 13 people killed on Ohio roadways were involved in alcohol-related crashes.
“Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – in the United States, there is just one OVI arrest for every 27,000 miles driven while drunk. These impaired drivers severely threaten the well-being of every citizen in the state,” said Colonel John Born, OSHP Superintendent. “Fatalities caused by impaired drivers are indeed a national tragedy — and that makes them a potential tragedy for each of us.”
While 13 to 15 people have been killed on Ohio’s roadways each of the past five Memorial Day weekends, only one death in that time happened in Montgomery County, when one person died in a 2010 crash.
Operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) has been a big factor in traffic fatalities the past two years in Montgomery County. In 2011, 27 of the 45 fatal crashes were OVI-related. In 2012, 17 of 37 fatal crashes were OVI-related. But so far in 2013, just three fatal crashes involved OVI offenses.
“We’ll use extra manpower and we have overtime available to work in key times, one being Memorial Day,” Ralston said. “We’ll be out in full force, highly visible and focused on impaired drivers and those not wearing safety belts.”
The OSHP said motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.
Ohio Memorial Day traffic fatalities
Year /Fatal Crashes/Number of people killed
2008 14 14
2009 14 15
2010 11 13
2011 13 14
2012 13 13
Note: The only year where Montgomery County registered a Memorial Day incident was 2010, when there was one reported fatal crash and one reported death.
Area counties’ traffic deaths
Through May 23, 2013
* - Through May 23, 2012