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According to statistics released by the Ohio State Patrol, more people will be injured in auto accidents in Ohio during the year 2013 than in previous years. The state patrol has been trying to bring down the numbers through various programs, including one intended to promote safe driving among teens, but still, the number of crashes investigated this year is already higher than the total number of crashes investigated last year. This is troubling for those in the Ohio Valley.

Number of Crashes Has Increased

Statewide statistics last updated November 25, 2013, show that to date, a total of 56,552 crashes have been investigated in Ohio, compared to a total of 55,937 for the entire year of 2012. That’s over 600 more crashes so far, and the year isn’t over yet.

The comparison is not quite so clear yet on fatal crashes. So far, 870 have been confirmed for 2013, with an additional 18 unverified traffic fatalities, compared to a total of 1,040 confirmed fatalities in 2012.

Cracking Down on Driving Under the Influence

What might be causing this increase? So far, we don’t have enough statistics to be sure. The Ohio State Patrol, however, has been cracking down on impaired driving accidents. In 2012, troopers made 24,520 arrests of drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Still, impaired drivers were responsible for 40 percent of the fatal crashes in 2012. In the Cincinnati metro and southwestern Ohio areas, arrests for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) were up 15 percent between 2011 and 2012, demonstrating the state patrol’s efforts to cut back on these types of accidents.

In September 2013, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported that a concentrated sweep on Interstate 70 from Ohio’s eastern border with West Virginia to Indiana’s western border with Illinois yielded more than 37,000 traffic stops as part of an effort to target aggressive driving, drug- and alcohol-impaired drivers and seatbelt violations.

Meanwhile, according to WKYC news, Ohio has the third highest number in America of serial drunk drivers who are legally allowed to drive. Ohio has a 6-year “look back” provision that allows a drunk driver to avoid facing elevated charges for repeat offenses, if the first one happened more than six years ago.

Teen Drivers Most At-Risk Group

Teen drivers are another high-risk group when it comes to Ohio traffic safety. According to the state patrol, teen drivers “remain one of Ohio’s most at risk groups when it comes to becoming involved in a traffic crash.” The last week of October 2013, troopers participated in National Teen Driver Safety Week, working to educate and raise awareness through a crack down on speed-related and seat belt violations.

Between 2010 and 2012, teen drivers were at fault in 100,871 traffic crashes, resulting in over 44,000 injuries and nearly 300 deaths in Ohio. The majority of these were caused by teenagers driving too fast. Teen drivers were also at fault in 10 percent of all fatal crashes during the same time period.

The Ohio State Patrol has put into effect a number of other programs meant to help cut down on auto accidents. These include the “You Are In Control” program, which promotes safe driving among teens, and various “Shield” programs meant to engage different population groups within the state on the subject of traffic safety.

Auto accidents can result in serious consequences for victims and their families. Even those who feel they haven’t been seriously injured may be best served by checking with an auto accident attorney about recovering damages.



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