The Safe Communities of Pickaway County Coalition met this week to discuss the end to the fiscal year for the program, and preview plans to continue traffic safety in Pickaway County. Members were presented a report with an outline of the goals met and areas where improvement in traffic safety is needed. According to statistics provided in April 2013, this year the organization was to focus on seat belt safety, impaired driving issues, motorcycle safety awareness, and work to create partnerships throughout the community to promote public awareness of motor vehicle safety. The program reviews fatalities on local highways and roadways quarterly, and makes recommendations on how to prevent future crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These reviews, along with data provided by a variety of sources, helps to determine what each program is to focus on in regards to programming. In Pickaway County, younger drivers, impaired driving, and motorcycle safety were all a priority of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
A major goal over the past five years did improve last year. The program was to meet the goal of 73% use rate for seat belts, and a survey conducted by Miami University last year shows that the county actually improved to 84.3%. These numbers reflect the use rate as of June 2013. In recent surveys and statistical data, there is a concern that this use rate may decrease next fiscal year. Seat belt use and the promotion of this safety message will remain a focus for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The teen program has remained a priority throughout the tenure of the program, and with the issue of distracted driving being a national topic of concern, younger driver safety will continue to be a focus for the future.
Teresa C. Carper, Director for the local program noted how grateful she is to the partners within the Pickaway County community. “It should be noted how fortunate this program is to have our law enforcement, local schools, media, businesses like Walmart and Fletcher’s Towing, and community members who help us make this program work”, she noted today. “In speaking with many agencies across the state, some programs struggle to get community members and leaders involved in the process. In Pickaway County, this has never been an issue, and we are grateful for the support.”
Although the Coalition was made aware of the future plans for the program, as well as future funding, an official announcement will come after October 1, 2014 when the new federal fiscal year begins for these grants in Ohio. The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office has held the program for over four years, and has applied for a grant for 2014-2015. Safe Community programs nationwide were created to promote public awareness and education to communities that have a significant number of fatalities as a result of motor vehicle crashes. Funding for the programs comes from the National Highway Safety Administration with the goal of becoming self-sufficient. In Ohio, funding comes to individual communities as a result of a grant held by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration holds information on a variety of programs, and information can be found on their website at www.nhtsa.gov .