LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – The year isn’t even a third of the way over, and already, there are more fatal crashes in Columbiana County than there were in each of the past four years.
To date, there have been seven crashes with eight people losing their lives. Last week, two people were killed just west of Lisbon in an accident on Route 30 near Route 72.
“With the state opening back up, people are getting back out on the roads more, and sometimes they’re distracted or they just don’t have their minds in the operation of the motor vehicle compared to sitting at home, on the couch and just going by their daily life with the pandemic,” said Lieutenant Leslie Brode.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, there were six fatal crashes total for each year. In 2017, there were five total.
Brode works at the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lisbon Post and said they’ve also seen an increase in traffic crashes as well, with 266 in 2021 and 186 in 2020.
“The weather’s getting nicer, people are out there on the roads, people are traveling a little bit more, and they may not be used to being out there driving like they were prior to the pandemic,” Brode said.
Brode said the crashes mostly happen in rural areas. According to a map released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, one crash happened near Wellsville, another near Glenmoor, one out in Homeworth, one south of Washingtonville, and two near Negley.
“In Columbiana County, the roadways are hilly, curvy and speed is at 55 mph for many of the roadways, but that doesn’t mean you have to do 55 mph while going around and negotiating these curves and these hilly roads in the county,” Brode said.
An interesting fact Brode mentioned is that out of the seven crashes this year, seven of the eight people weren’t wearing seatbelts. It only takes a second to buckle a seatbelt to potentially save a life, Brode said.
Four of the seven crashes involved someone who was impaired by either alcohol or drugs.
“The Post has taken an aggressive approach to the enforcement of impaired drivers, and year-to-date, we are up over 50% in OVI arrests and impairment arrests compared to last year so we are taking it seriously and we are making a concentrated effort in removing the impaired drivers from the Columbiana County roadways,” Brode said.
Enforcement stops are also up when compared to their three-year average, which Brodes contributes to more people on the roads and the increase in accidents.
“It’s our responsibility as the Lisbon Post in Columbiana County to make sure that we’re out there enforcing violations of the law, trying to change those driving behaviors to make sure that the roads are safer for everybody else who’s going to be coming into Columbiana County and be on the roadways,” Brode said.
In reference to the crashes, Brode said there’s no specific age group involved and that it ranges from 15- to 72-year-olds.