PDT Staff Writer
Eleven people died on Ohio's highways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, down dramatically from the 17 who died from traffic deaths during the same time frame last year.
Kentucky's highway death toll was also down, though slightly, said Capt. Tim Lucas, spokesman for the Kentucky State Police in Frankfort.
He said nine people died in nine separate crashes on Kentucky roadways during the holiday enforcement period -- from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
"This year was the safest Thanksgiving holiday weekend on Ohio roads since 2001, when there were 10 fatalities," said Lt. Tony Bradshaw. spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol headquarters in Columbus.
Law enforcement agencies reported 11 fatal crashes killing 11 people on Ohio roads. Seven of them were wearing seat belts.
As part of its enforcement and motorist safety efforts, the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrested 501 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and assisted 3,741 motorists during the holiday weekend.
Seven of he Kentucky fatalities involved motor vehicles and four of those victims were not wearing seat belts. Two of the crashes were suspected of involving alcohol. Two of the fatalities involved pedestrians.
Drivers slowing down to help conserve use of gasoline may have been responsible for bringing Kentucky's death toll so far down in 2008 from what it was for the first 11 months of 2007, officials said.
Through the end of November, preliminary statistics indicate that 738 people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways -- 63 fewer than reported for the same time frame in 2007.
Of the 563 vehicle fatalities, 356 were not wearing seatbelts. Of the 87 motorcycle fatalities, 52 were not wearing helmets. And of the 54 people killed in ATV crashes, 22 were not wearing helmets.
A total of 155 fatalities on Kentucky highways have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.
Fifty-four pedestrians have been killed on Kentucky roadways so far this year.
Lucas said citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police by calling 1-800-222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction travel and license plate numbers.