Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers are increasing their focus on impaired driving enforcement as part of an ongoing effort to contribute to a safer Ohio.
Through the effort, known as Trooper Shield, troopers statewide are working on effective traffic enforcement, multi-agency partnerships and educational campaigns as well as appealing for cooperation from motorists in what they hope builds on a trend of declining fatalities and increased enforcement of OVI (operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol) offenses.
On a local level, OSHP Wapakoneta Post Commander Lt. Scott Carrico said they are educating troopers on locations where crashes are happening and all of them know the crash causing violations.
“They are assigned to work the high crash areas and are always looking for those drivers that are not wearing safety belts,” Carrico said. “Troopers aggressively patrol for impaired drivers on a daily basis.”
In 2010, troopers with the Wapakoneta Post handled six fatal crashes in Auglaize County. Of the six, none were alcohol related.
To date this year, troopers have handled four fatal crashes in Auglaize County. Two of those were alcohol related.
Safety belts were not being used in three of the six fatal crashes in 2010, however in two of the crashes, belts did not apply as one was a pedestrian and the other the driver of a farm tractor.
This year, seat belts were being used in three of the four fatal crashes.
“Our crashes investigated in 2011 is down around 10 percent compared to those investigated during 2010,” Carrico said.
He noted safety belt enforcement efforts have been increased 9 percent compared to 2010.
OVI enforcement numbers are running almost the same as 2010 with 264 impaired motorists removed from the roads by troopers in Auglaize and Mercer counties in 2011.
Throughout Ohio, motor vehicle crashes have declined 9 percent when compared to the same period last year. There have been 824 deaths to date in 2011 compared to 902 in 2010.
Troopers have arrested 934 more motorists for driving impaired when compared to the same time period in 2010. Last year, 40 percent of all fatal crashes in the state were OVI-related.
“Our troopers are out on the roads every day trying to make Ohio a safer place to live, work and travel,” OSHP Superintendent Col. John Born said. “We are encouraged that — statewide — traffic crash fatalities are down and OVI arrests are up — and we hope to continue this trend through the upcoming holiday season.”