The good news: Ohio is on track to see fewer traffic fatalities in 2013 than ever before. As of this week, 945 people have died on Ohio roads, that's the lowest number since the state started keeping track back in 1936. That year, more than 2,300 people died in traffic crashes, the Ohio Department of Transportation reports.
The bad news: Alcohol and failing to wear seatbelts are the two most common reasons people die in traffic crashes. Both are easily preventable.
Overall, improved roadway safety is helping to drive this number down. ODOT reports the deadliest year for Ohio highways was 1969 when 2,778 people died. Since then, the number has been dropping to a low of 1,016 people in 2011. ODOT says the reasons are many. Some include:
- Many freeways in the state now have cable barriers to prevent cross-median crashes.
- Most highways are lined with rumble strips that will alert drivers they are leaving the roadway.
- Larger, more reflective warning signs on curves.
- Wider pavement markings.
Last year, 1,122 traffic ftalities were recorded and of those, 470 were alcohol related and 419 were drivers or passengers who weren't wearing seatbelts.
The state has done much to improve the safety of the highways themselves but motorists and passengers must take responsibility for their own well being. Vowing to never drink and drive, and always buckling your safety belt, are two easy ways to do so.