Icy roads cause several accidents

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Icy roads created havoc Tuesday night for area travelers, just before the official start to the Christmas travel season.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers reported numerous accidents throughout Lawrence County because of poor road conditions.

“There are no major accidents. We’ve had a lot of accidents and some with injury but none so far have been life-threatening,” dispatcher Gil LeBlanc said just before 7 p.m. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies reported a similar situation, as did Ironton police.

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Besides weather worries, law enforcement will have its hands full this holiday season, watching for impaired drivers. Statistics show that the holiday season is by far the worst period for crashes involving alcohol.

More than 6,000 impaired driving (OVI) crashes have occurred on Ohio roads in the last three years during the holiday period that spans from the day before Thanksgiving to Jan. 2, according to information from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

With these sobering statistics in mind, Ohio state troopers said they will be vigilant in searching for and apprehending impaired drivers through the balance of the holiday season. OHP troopers make an average of 2,829 OVI arrests each year during the holiday season according to Patrol researchers.

Colonel Richard H. Collins, patrol superintendent, has predicted that 2008 is likely to see the lowest number of Ohio traffic fatalities in the state’s recorded history. In making this prediction he has noted an improved quality of life for Ohio citizens through Ohio roads being safer, Ohio’s metropolitan areas being safer than they have ever been and impaired drivers knowing they are in the enforcement cross-hairs of Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers.

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said KSP troopers will also be boosting road patrols and operating safety checkpoints statewide during the holiday period.

“Life is too precious to be lost in a senseless tragedy that causes indescribable hardship,” said Brewer. “KSP has a ‘no-tolerance’ policy. If you are caught driving under the influence, you will go to jail.”

For maximum effectiveness, Troopers will coordinate enforcement activities with local police to target high-risk areas and use radar and laser equipment to assist their efforts.

Brewer said prevention starts with responsible hosts who do not allow guests to leave a party and then drive impaired. It continues with aggressive law enforcement strategies and courts that impose stern sentences authorized by the Legislature.

Captain Tim Lucas, commander of the Highway Safety Branch urges friends and family members to take the keys away from anyone who consumes alcohol and arrange for them to be driven home.

“In 2007, Kentucky law enforcement made 45,304 DUI arrests in the commonwealth,” remarked Lucas. “We need every citizen’s help to keep impaired drivers off the road.”

KSP established a toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) that citizens can call to report impaired or erratic drivers.