For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
October 7 2002

ODOT Works to Put the Brakes on Fatalities

Columbus - More than one thousand of the nearly 400,000 traffic accidents reported in Ohio last year resulted in fatalities, and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is working to stem the problem. More than 134,000 of these accidents and 640 of the fatalities occurred on state highways and interstates.

As part of the second annual Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, ODOT is encouraging Ohioans to adopt safer driving practices as the department continues to create safer driving environments. Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day was conceived by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and is commemorated Oct. 10 with a national event in Washington, D.C. and local events across the country.

ODOT works to prevent accidents and fatalities through the departments Highway Safety Program. Each year ODOT conducts extensive studies of the 50 freeway locations and 200 non-freeway locations that have been deemed to be high crash locations through analysis of crash statistics. The studies reveal accident patterns and probable causes of accidents that can be used to determine the most effective solutions.

ODOT spends approximately $34 million of federal and state funding through the Highway Safety Program annually to implement these solutions. Such roadway improvements include the installation of signs and signals, and engineering improvements such as the addition of a turn lane or the modification of pavement to increase traction. ODOT spent millions more on safety improvements as part of its $1.2 billion highway construction program last year.

"While the varied processes involved in building and maintaining Ohios roads can be complicated, safety is the guiding principle in every phase of ODOTs operations," said ODOT Highway Safety Program Manager Jennifer Townley.

Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day promotes safer driving behaviors and safer vehicles. Safer driving behaviors include the use of seat belts and child safety seats, and ODOT has joined the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) in promoting their use. "The Ohio Department of Public Safety encourages every Ohioan to buckle up, not only during Putting the Brakes on Fatalities Day, but whenever they travel by motor vehicle," said ODPS Communications Director Ashley Ellis. Ohios seat belt usage currently hovers at 70.3 percent. Safety experts estimate if Ohio raised its belt usage to 80 percent, 120 lives would be saved annually.

Motorists can make the most significant impact by obeying speed limits and avoiding drinking and driving. In Ohio almost 60 percent of fatal crashes are caused by alcohol, speeding, failure to control, driver inattention or a combination of these factors. ODPS estimates that alcohol was involved in 27 percent of fatal crashes and in 4 percent of all crashes in Ohio in 2001. Speeding exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, or racing is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. In Ohio in 2001, speeding was a contributing factor in 19 percent of all fatal crashes, and 260 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.


Put the Brakes on Fatalities Facts

ODOT spends approximately $34 million of federal and state funding through the Highway Safety Program annually to prevent crashes and fatalities on Ohio's roads. ODOT spent millions more on safety improvements that were incorporated into each project of the department's $1.2 billion highway construction program last year.

2001 Ohio Crash Statistics

  • Approximately 3.4 fatal crashes each day.
  • Approximately 3.4 people were killed each day.
  • One person was killed every 6.4 hours.
  • There were 380 people injured every 3.8 minutes.
  •  Drunk drivers were involved in 4.31% of all crashes.
  •  Drunk drivers were involved in 27.19% of all fatalities.
  •  Over 66.5% of all drinking drivers involved in crashes were males.
  •  64.7% of all crashes occurred during the daylight.
  •  Motor vehicle crashes killed 60 children and injured 9,889 children up to age 14.

For more information, contact: 
John Hackley, ODOT Communication Officer, (614) 644-6353