By Frank Lewis
The number of traffic deaths decreased during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend again. Provisional numbers released on Tuesday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol show fewer motorists were killed on Ohio’s roadways this Thanksgiving Holiday than in recent years.
Nine people were killed during the five day reporting period, from Wednesday, Nov. 25 until Sunday, Nov. 29. This is a decrease from the past three years when 23 were killed in 2014, 17 were killed in 2013, and 12 were killed in 2012. None of those deaths occurred in Scioto County.
“We had a couple of bad crashes,” Lieutenant M.L. Gore, Commander of the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. “We had a couple flown out of a crash on (U.S.) 23 north of the post and then we had a man that was lying in the road on (Ohio) 139, out around Clarktown. He was lying in the road. That’s brand new asphalt out there and it was dark and the person came around out of a curve out there and ran overtop of him.”
The Patrol made 498 arrests for OVI, 688 for aggressive driving and issued 1,651 citations for not wearing safety belts – all three increased from last year.
“We are always pleased to see a decrease in lives lost on Ohio’s roadways. However, we can’t settle until the number of fatalities is zero,” Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Paul A. Pride, said. “The Ohio State Highway Patrol is committed to keeping you and your family safe on our roads, every day and every night.”
Motorists in this area are also seeing a large influx of deer on area roadways.
“The prime rack comes in during the last part of bow season and hopefully the first part of gun season,” Gore said. “They’re moving pretty good. Then, with the temperature changes, that oftentimes causes them to move, when it’s first getting colder.”
Gore said common sense driving can help diminish the number of vehicle-deer encounters.
“If you’re traveling through an area you’re familiar with, then you probably know where the deer crossing areas are and the areas that have been identified by ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) with traffic studies, where they have put those signs up that say ‘deer crossing,’ and they have checked out crash data, where we have had the majority of our deer crashes, that is where you have to watch,” Gore said. “When you’re driving you just need to be really aware and keep your eyes focused on not only what is in front of you, but what’s on either side of you. If you see a deer standing close to the edge of the roadway, then you should slow down and be prepared.”
Gore said the rule of thumb is, where you see one deer, you are most likely to see several in close proximity.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.