Law enforcement reports average weekend

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

It was a fairly average weekend for holiday travel in Lawrence County.

Ohio State Highway patrol troopers said there were no traffic fatalities and approximately the same amount of arrests this New Year's weekend as compared with new year's weekends in previous years.

"The amount of travel was what we expected," Ohio State Highway patrol Lt. Carl Roark said.

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"It appears the message is getting out that for the holidays, people are using designated drivers or just staying home. It seems like more and more vehicles we're stopping do have a designated driver. If they would take that message and apply it all year long, I am convinced we could save more lives. I am confident we could save more lives."

The Ironton Police log recorded no major traffic accidents for that municipality for the New Year's Eve weekend.

Statewide, there were fewer traffic deaths in 2004 as compared with 2003.

Patrol spokesman Lt. Rick Zwayer said troopers began a statewide effort a year ago January to reduce the number of fatal crashes by traffic offenders. As a result, there were 50 fewer fatalities on Ohio roads last year than in 2004, he said.

Zwayer said the plan involves placing troopers where they can deter fatal crashes. He said the number of traffic stops has risen, but that there's less focus on writing tickets that before.

However, officials with some municipal courts throughout the state say the patrol's new approach has resulted in fewer tickets, costing them thousands of dollars. This money is used to operate local governments that are, in some cases, already financially ailing.