With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays fast approaching, troopers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol are urging area motorists and their passengers to remember to buckle up when traveling local roadways to keep themselves and others safe during this busy season.
In the last two years, a total of 1,142 people across Ohio were killed in crashes who were not wearing an available safety belt.
Troopers said looking specifically at Logan County from 2015 to 2017, there were a total of 27 crashes reported where occupants being unbelted led to fatal or incapacitating injuries. For the same time period in Union County, there were 30 fatal or incapacitating injury crashes.
“It’s simple — safety belts save lives and reduce injury in crashes,” Marysville Post Commander Lt. Molly Harris said. “It is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, and friends.
“Our goal is to prevent tragedies year round but especially during the coming holidays. The Ohio State Highway Patrol wants everyone to get home safely to their families.”
Lt. Harris said Marysville Post troopers will be conducting extra patrols on area roadways starting this month and continuing through the end of the year, concentrating their efforts on crash-causing violations and safety belt compliance to combat the rising number of fatal crashes in both Logan and Union counties.
So far this year, there have been a total of 11 fatal crashes in Logan County. Last year, there were a total of nine fatal crashes for the entire year.
For Union County, there have been five fatal crashes so far this year, and there were four fatal crashes reported during 2017.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 409 lives were saved by seat belts in Ohio and 14,668 were saved nationwide during 2016.
According to Ohio’s 2018 Observational Seatbelt Survey, more than 84 percent of motorists were found to be in compliance with Ohio’s safety belt law, an increase from 2017. Unfortunately, this illustrates far too many Ohioans still do not buckle up, troopers noted.
Ohio’s safety belt law remains a secondary violation. However, troopers will continue zero tolerance enforcement when motorists are stopped for other violations and are found to not be wearing their safety belt.
Last year, 124,697 people were convicted of driving or riding in a passenger vehicle without wearing a safety belt, a 9 percent increase from 2016.
Troopers encourage everyone to buckle up “every trip, every time.” For a complete statistical analysis of safety belt violations, visit, www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/Safety_Belt_Bulletin_2018.pdf .