COLUMBUS, Ohio - Going into the holiday, troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said final 2011 fatality numbers go down in history as the safest year on record. But 2012 isn't looking quite the same.
In 2011, the Buckeye State saw a total of 1,015 traffic fatalities. But so far this year, OSP said fatalities have been on the rise.
"We recognize last year's record accomplishment, but need the public's help to reverse the upward trend in 2012," said John Born, OSHP superintendent in a news release. "Last year, more impaired drivers were arrested and fewer impaired driving crashes occurred, but there's significantly more work to do."
In 2011, the patrol's OVI arrests were up 8 percent and OVI-related fatal crashes decreased by 10 percent. Through May of 2012, Ohio State Highway Patrol OVI arrests are up 10 percent, with OVI-related fatal crashes down 26 percent.
Fourth of July is traditionally a dangerous holiday period on Ohio roads, OSHP said, particularly for drunken drivers. Last July 4 weekend, troopers arrested 598 drivers for OVI from Friday, July 1 at midnight through Monday, July 4 at 11:59 p.m.
Troopers are out in full force taking drunken drivers off Ohio's roadways today and will be for the rest of the week.
"If you are driving impaired – you will be arrested." That's the message OSHP wants to get across.
Troopers encourage the public to continue using #677 on your cellphone to report impaired drivers or drug activity.
Here's to a safe holiday -- and holiday weekend!
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