NEWARK – The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reports six traffic fatalities during the first quarter of 2019, January 1 through March 31, in Licking County.
Of the six fatalities, two of the crashes involved drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and two involved motorists not wearing their seat belts. During the same time frame in 2018, there were three fatalities. This is an increase of three fatalities in the county.
“An issue for Licking County drivers that continues to be a concern is the occurrence of crashes involving an impaired driver. It is important to remember impaired driving is not just limited to alcohol. Drugs, whether prescribed or not, can influence your driving ability,” said Jon Kraus, Safe Communities Coordinator at LCHD.
In just the last five months, five out of the nine total fatal crashes in Licking County involved motorists who were suspected or tested positive for being impaired by either alcohol or drugs. “You can’t drive safely if you’re impaired. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Read and follow all warning labels before driving and note that warnings against operating heavy machinery include driving a vehicle,” concluded Kraus
The Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement will continue efforts to decrease fatalities by reminding everyone that If You Feel Different, You Drive Different and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Although simple, these initiatives act as reminders for drivers to make smart decisions and know the effects of what you consume.