The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported a decrease in traffic fatalities over the Christmas weekend but there was also an increased number of OVI arrests.

From midnight last Thursday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, troopers throughout the state made 142 OVI arrests, a 137% increase over last year’s 103 arrests. Troopers also responded to seven traffic accidents with nine fatalities last weekend. Six of the nine killed were not wearing available seat belts at the time of accidents.

Troopers in Williams County responded to seven traffic accidents and seven calls for assistance over the weekend. They issued one seat belt violation citation, one commercial vehicle citation and eight warnings.

Data shows a 33% decrease in traffic fatalities from the 2019 Christmas reporting period, when 12 fatalities were reported within three days.

The decrease is good news in an otherwise bad year. Fewer people are traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but patrol statistics for the entire year to date show an overall 6% increase in traffic fatalities throughout the state. The patrol has responded to 10,500 alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2020 and December is usually the worst month.

Findings from this year’s American Automotive Association Traffic Safety Culture Index show that 94% of all drivers believe driving after drinking is an extremely dangerous activity but 10% of those surveyed admitted to doing so within the last 30 days.

“This data shows that a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality remains among the motoring public regarding drunk driving,” said Pat Brown, AAA driving school supervisor. “Regardless of what New Year’s celebrations look like this year, we urge all Ohioans to think of the implications before they get behind the wheel impaired.”

The public is encouraged to continue using #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity.

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