11 motorists die on Ohio roadways over Labor Day weekend

Safe Driving Awareness Month hopes to combat rising traffic deaths.

Eleven motorists died on Ohio roadways over the long Labor Day holiday weekend, during the beginning of a month-long campaign by state troopers to promote safe driving habits.

Over the same Friday through Monday of 2014, marking the unofficial end of summer, there were 12 traffic-related fatalities by comparison, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol.

This brings the year-to-date total to 751 deaths of drivers and their passengers in Ohio, an approximately 18 percent increase from the same time last year when 634 people died, said spokesman Lt. Craig Cvetan.

Traffic deaths have been trending up this year and there are several factors why, Cvetan said.

“Every crash starts out with a bad decision and when people make those bad decisions, ultimately that’s what leads to these fatal crashes,” he said.

Bad decisions include speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving and not buckling up, he said.

Also, the numbers are a reverse-course from recent years when 2013 was the safest year for fatalities on Ohio roadways. Last year was the second safest year since Ohio began keeping track in the 1930s, according to the highway patrol.

“We don’t want the numbers to go back up,” he said.

September is Safe Driving Awareness Month, which was designated by Senate bill 294 and signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in June 2014 to honor Maria Tiberi and other victims of motor vehicle crashes. Maria Tiberi was a 21-year-old college student who died in a distracted driving crash in September 2013, according to the highway patrol. She is the daughter of Columbus television sports anchor, Dom Tiberi.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re reminding motorists they need to do their part to keep roadways safe,” Cvetan said.

From 2010-2014, an average of 287,303 motor vehicle crashes occurred on Ohio’s public roadways each year. Of these, an average of 957 involved fatalities with 1,043 people being killed and more injured, according to the patrol office. Figures include accidents investigated by troopers as well as accidents investigated by other law enforcement, Cvetan said.

Drivers are asked to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.

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