Archived Story

Ohio, nation going backward on highway safety

Published 10:38am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In another sign that Ohio and the nation are moving backward on highway safety, teen driving deaths rose during the first half of last year, after nearly a decade of decline.

Deaths among 16 and 17-year-old drivers across the country increased by 19 percent, to 240, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported. In Ohio, the number of such deaths rose from six to nine. Overall, 1,094 people died in crashes statewide last year, an 8 percent increase from 2011.

These statistics should end any complacency Ohio has developed about highway safety. They call for new practices, and possibly new laws. The rise in teen deaths is especially troubling, given the big decreases in such fatalities reported around the country from 2000 to 2010.

New graduated driver’s license laws that restrict inexperienced drivers were often credited with past improvements. Ohio’s law went into effect in 2007.

Ohio also enacted a text-messaging restriction last year ‚Äî a secondary offense for adults and a primary offense for drivers under 18….

In Ohio, one in eight drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 was involved in a crash in 2011. Passing a primary-enforcement seat-belt law would help improve highway safety in Ohio. The state should also consider raising the minimum age for a learner’s permit to 16.

The (Toledo) Blade



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