A quarterly review with a committee of the Safe Communities of Pickaway County program was held this week to discuss the one traffic fatality that occurred in the second quarter of the calendar year 2014. The fatality which occurred on US 23, sparked the ongoing discussion of safety along the stretch of highway that includes Pittsburgh Road, and the area around local businesses near Sperry Drive. Due to the increase in the speed limit along that stretch of highway, local law enforcement has voiced an ongoing concern for crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Ohio law allowed the change in speed limit, however the number of crashes and fatalities over the last several months has brought the discussion of safety to the forefront of the committee’s list of concerns.
“We have a good working relationship with the Ohio Department of Transportation, and a representative from the District 6 Office is a part of our committee”, stated Teresa C. Carper, Safe Communities Director. “Due to the Circleville portion of US 23 being a part of a rural area, the law states that this area is to have a speed limit of 65 mph. However, due to law enforcement concerns, surveys, enforcement, and other suggestions have been discussed to improve safety.”
Past discussions of the committee has included seat belt use. A majority of the fatalities over the past few years had involved a driver or a passenger that was not wearing a seat belt. Pickaway County has had one of the worst seat belt use rates in Ohio, and it is believed that many of the fatal crashes may have had a different outcome if the driver or passenger had simply buckled up.
Finally, and especially during the summer months, the concern for bicycle and pedestrian safety should be a priority according to the Fatal Review Committee members. The message that everyone needs to SHARE THE ROAD, will help prevent a tragedy. Pedestrians especially should remember that motor vehicles need to have time to stop if and when they see someone or something in their path. Depending on the rate of speed, it can take several feet for a motor vehicle to stop. Never guess what your safety is when crossing a busy roadway.
The next major mobilization will be the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Pickaway County will kick off the safety enforcement period on August 13, 2014 with the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Law Enforcement Awards. Other activities will be planned, and local businesses will be asked to help the community stay safe by promoting the message.
Safe Communities of Pickaway County is a grant funded program through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ohio Traffic Safety Office. The program continues to promote safety messages and provides education to improve overall safety on local roadways, and decrease the number of lives lost through motor vehicle crashes. Information on traffic safety can be found at www.nhtsa.gov