Ohio highway signs display fatality stats

New highway signs display fatality stats

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - By nightfall Saturday night, millions will be nestled with family and friends capping off another Fourth of July holiday under a sparkling night sky.

1.7 million people are taking a journey 50 miles or more from home – and that's just in Ohio alone, according to AAA spokesperson Cheryl Parker.

AAA projects almost one-third of Americans will travel to celebrate the holiday away from home.

"The numbers that we are projecting are the highest Fourth of July travel weekend numbers since we've been tracking the data," Parker said.

That's exactly why state troopers are making sure you can't miss them on your holiday journey.

"We're always looking for aggressive driving, any kind of speeds, any kind of following too close.  We want to make sure people are wearing their seatbelts, and not consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel," said Sgt. David Grooms with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Right now, state officials report traffic deaths are up 18 percent in Ohio from this time last year.

State leaders don't want you to forget that 496 people have died on the roads this year.  More than 100 of the electronic signs posted on roadways statewide will hammer home the message.
"People are going to see those when they're driving.  That's going to be another reminder to the driver that the fatality crashes are up," Grooms said.

The signs will rotate messages between fatal crash statistics and safety messages such as, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

In a release from ODOT and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, they report that in May of this year, traffic deaths were at their worst in a decade with the largest increase among drivers under 25-years old.  They say fatal accidents involving alcohol tripled and the number of fatal crashes involving drivers not wearing seatbelts doubled.

"We're prepared for whatever happens, and we are going to be out in full force this weekend," Grooms told FOX19 NOW.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be out in full force looking for drunk drivers during the holiday weekend.

The blitz started Thursday, and will end Sunday, July 5.  Last year during the Fourth of July holiday, troopers made nearly 750 OVI arrests during the weekend.

The signs will rotate the messages for a trial period, as it stands right now.  They'll flash the messages 24-hours a day on weekends and on periodically on the weekends unless a message of higher priority needs to be relayed to drivers.  Every Thursday night, the boards will update with the latest accident statistics, according to a press release.

To learn more about the program, visit: http://statepatrol.ohio.gov/media/2015/15-058.html 

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