As fatal crash numbers rise in 2019, driving officials stress importance of staying alert

Local News

Summer heat can make the effects of alcohol much worse

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Alcohol, speed and road conditions are making for a deadly mix on Ohio roads this year.

So far, 2019 has been a bad year for Mahoning Valley motorists as police report a large increase in the number of fatal crashes.

Since the beginning of the year, more than two dozen fatal accidents have happened on Mahoning Valley roadways.

Trumbull County is showing the biggest increase with 11 more road deaths this year than last year.

Police say those numbers could climb even higher this summer.

“It’s the hundred deadliest days of the summer, and that goes from Memorial Day through Labor Day. With that, there is increased traffic, people traveling, summer holidays, going to and from camping, vacation, that sort of thing. Not to mention, with the nice weather, people are out and about and sometimes partaking in alcoholic beverages,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Brad Bucey.

The accidents happen on highways, interstates and country roads.

“We can’t predict where it’s going to happen. We’ve had accidents, fatal crashes happen where we worked all day long and then 15 minutes after we leave, a fatal crash happens there,” Bucey said.

Highway Patrol statistics show more than half of the drivers involved in these accidents were drunk when the crash occurred.

Others were caused by drivers following too closely, but driving instructors say that’s an easy mistake to fix.

“Nobody gives three seconds following distance. Everybody seems to want to get up real close, and I ask you why you need to be close to somebody in front of you. You’re not getting anywhere, you are going to get to the red light three seconds later,” said Greg Anderson, owner of All Star Driving School in Boardman.

Above all, Anderson says to avoid alcohol while driving. Summer heat can make the effects of alcohol much worse.

As always, police say to stay alert behind the wheel and to not text and drive.

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