The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the Thanksgiving holiday in Ohio was slightly more dangerous this year than last. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, the Patrol’s Sargent Vincent Shirey explains more than a dozen people lost their lives on Ohio’s roadways from midnight on November 27th to midnight Monday morning.
SHIREY: “This weekend there were 13 people killed in 11 crashes this weekend.”
INGLES: "And what about seat belts? Were most people wearing their seats belts?”
SHIREY: “When you compare it with 2012, we saw that every person involved in a fatal crash was not wearing their seat belt. Looking at this year’s numbers, we had sveen of the 13 fatalities...those individuals were not wearing their seat belts...which was an improvement from 2012.”
INGLES: "The message about seat belts doesn’t seem to be sinking in. Do you know why?”
SHIREY: “You know, we do the best that we can. We try to partner with media outlets -- radio,television, newspapers -- just to continually push that message as best as we can, and let people know that it’s not only about their safety but it’s also those in the vehicles with them. Not only them but their passengers as well, insuring they are safe. And we do the best we can to get the message out to the motoring public.”
INGLES: "What about drunk drivers this past weekend? Did we see an increase in the number of those?”
SHIREY: “We saw an increase in the amount of arrests as a whole. We saw the (Ohio Highway) Patrol arrested 503 drivers for OVI this weekend, which is nearly a nine percent increase. But when you look at that, we saw a decrease in the amount of individuals killed in fatal crashes over the weekend. So we had three people killed out of the two alcohol related crashes, which is a decrease from 2012.”
INGLES: "So is that message sinking in -- not drinking and driving?”
SHIREY: “It seems to be. When you look at the stats, it does seem to be sinking in. We keep encouraging and pushing that message, don’t drink and drive, buckle up and wear your safety belt. And we're going to continue to get that message out. Because one of the top priorities of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is to insure highway safety and reducing fatal crashes -- which greatly, this year, we are actually on pace to be a record year, 2013, in the number of reduced fatalities for 2013. We are hoping to be under 1,000 this year.”
Sgt. Vincent Shirey is with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He was speaking to Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles about crashes on the state’s roadways over this recent holiday weekend.