For informational/historical purposes only.

The Ohio Department of Transportation

Internet News Release

October 7, 2005

ODOT WORKS TO PUT THE BRAKES ON FATALITIES

(COLUMBUS) - Last year on Ohio roadways there were more than 381,000 crashes about 1,284 people were killed and more than 141,000 people were injured. The vast majority of these crashes were preventable.

This year the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is joining the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and other organizations Oct. 10 to commemorate Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. The campaign aims to encourage drivers to adopt safer driving practices to reduce deaths and injuries.

Ohio Fatalities Drop
In 2003, Ohio had the second-largest reduction in fatalities in the nation, decreasing fatalities from 1,418 in 2002 to 1,277 in 2003. Over the last two years, Ohios fatality rate fell from 1.31 to 1.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, well below the national average of 1.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.

Over the past decade weve made great strides in improving the roadways and the vehicles we drive, said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. However, engineering is only one part of the equation. How we drive as motorists is just as important in reducing fatalities and crashes.

In 2003, about 90 percent of fatal crashes and 89 percent of injury crashes were classified as driver error, according to Ohio Department of Public Safety statistics. Common causes were excessive speed, driver inattention and alcohol.

New Programs Underway
ODOT is working to prevent injuries and fatalities through the departments Highway Safety Program. In 2003, ODOT doubled the amount of funding available to address high-crash locations from $30 to $65 million annually.

In addition, ODOT recently expanded its OhioSafe Commute Program to include Toledo and Dayton. The program is already underway in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

OhioSafe Commute stations law enforcement officers along the busiest, crash-prone highways. Officers patrol these corridors to enforce the speed limit and clear roadway crashes faster to reduce annual crashes and save lives.

OhioSafe Commute began in 2003 as a $500,000 pilot program in central Ohio. In 2004, ODOT spent $300,000 to expand the program to Cincinnati and Cleveland. This year, ODOT will spend $800,000 to target existing areas and new corridors in Toledo and Dayton. For more information on the OhioSafe Commute Program, visit (http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ohiosafecommute/).