NEWARK – According to crash reports from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 14 traffic related deaths in Licking County during 2013. This compares with 10 fatalities in 2012. Of the 14 fatal crashes that occurred, eight (57%) were reported as being alcohol and/or drug related. In other words, at least 50% of crashes that occurred in 2013 could have easily been prevented if the responsible choice had been made.
Given this significant increase in OVIrelated crashes (operating under the influence), the Safe Communities Coalition will be working towards decreasing these numbers in 2014. “Through planning, education, and enforcement we hope to see drivers making the right choice; not to drink and drive,” said Safe Communities Coordinator Carrie Minor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four million adults each year put everyone on the road at risk by drinking and driving. Drinking and driving is also reported more commonly among male drivers. In Licking County all eight OVI-related fatal crashes involved males who were drinking.
All too often people don’t think they have had “too much” to drink. The legal limit is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Depending on the size and gender of the person, it could take less than four beers to reach this level. At this value there are serious side effects that can impair a person’s driving performance. Trouble controlling speed, difficulty processing information and reasoning, and reduced coordination can all take effect at this point.
It is important for people to understand you don’t have to be stumbling out of the bar to be too drunk to drive; it can be after just a few drinks. It’s not worth the risk. The best choice is to have a sober ride home from a designated driver or local cab service.