The State Highway Patrol recently released some very good news. The 1,015 traffic fatalities recorded in 2011 is the smallest annual total on record for Ohio.
Granted, even a single fatality is tragic for the family and friends impacted. Lives are lost and others shattered. A stark reality is that deaths are going to occur on our roadways given the thousands and thousands and thousands of drivers out there. That includes, sadly, those who are impaired, distracted or plain inexperienced behind the wheel which only influences the odds of bad things happening.
There were 1,080 traffic deaths in 2010 and 1,022 in 2009. Record-keeping began in 1936.
Locally, Columbiana County is down a fatality from this time last year and Mahoning County is minus two. Curiously, up north Cuyahoga County is minus 22 while its western county neighbor, Lorain County, is up 9. That is some disparity for bordering counties.
The patrol is every vigilant. We all know that. Patrol officers are constants - we see them everywhere we go. Which is good. Very, very good. Officers are well-trained, professional and efficient. The patrol sees a link between the decrease in deaths and its stepped-up enforcement targeting impaired drivers. Let's keep it up.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol does a wonderful job in trying its best to keep all of us safer on the roadways. You, as a safe and conscientious driver, deserves credit too for the numbers trending down when it comes to deaths on the road. Let's hope it continues not only through the remainder of 2012 but right into the next year and all those after that.