‘Drive sober or get pulled over’

Highway patrol urges motorists to be safe

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging drivers who intend to celebrate the New Year’s holiday to plan ahead and designate a sober driver.

“There are so many options to get home safely,” said Col. Paul A. Pride, patrol superintendent in a press release. “Planning ahead before you go out is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.”

The New Year’s holiday reporting period runs today through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and the patrol’s zero-tolerance policy is part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign aimed at removing impaired drivers from the roads, the release states.

Five fatal crashes killed six people during the four-day 2017-18 New Year’s holiday period, the patrol reported. Two crashes and two fatalities were OVI related, with two fatalities occurring where safety belts were available but not in use.

Year-to-date, there have been 1,046 confirmed fatalities on Ohio’s roads, a 10 percent decrease over the same time last year.

“Roadway safety is a shared responsibility. Everyone can contribute to making our roadways safer by following traffic laws, wearing safety belts and driving sober,” the release states.

Motorists can report impaired drivers and drug activity by calling #677.

The patrol also reported nine deaths on Ohio roads during the 2018 Christmas weekend, which was midnight Dec. 21 through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 25. Three fatalities were the result of not wearing a seat belt when available and three were OVI-related, according to provisional statistics.

This number is the same as the 2017 holiday weekend, but lower than 2016 when 14 people were killed in traffic crashes.

Troopers made 4,600 traffic enforcement contacts throughout the state during this timeframe, including 404 OVI arrests, 164 drug arrests and 635 safety belt citations. In addition, the Patrol made 10,001 non-enforcement contacts, including 2,148 motorist assists.

“Troopers were highly visible (Christmas) weekend encouraging motorists to drive safely,” said Pride. “We thank everyone who slowed down, buckled up and designated sober drivers this weekend. We ask that you do the same every time you get behind the wheel.”

There were 267 incidents in Trumbull County during the Christmas weekend, which ranked outside the top 10 counties listed in information released by the patrol. Mahoning County had 359 incidents, which was 10th. Franklin County had the most reported incidents at 622.

The patrol listed 12 types of incidents including crashes, safety belt violations and felony arrests, although the released figures were not broken down by county.

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