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Drivers are ultimately in charge of their own safety

Last year, Ohio saw a dip in the number of traffic deaths. But the improvement was short-lived. The number of traffic deaths so far this year is approximately 20 more than at this time last year, at 880, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

While the Ohio Department of Transportation has tried to do its part, the effort has its limitations. It has $158 million to spend on safety measures this year, and some of that goes toward putting up digital signs meant to provoke thought and conversation. This year’s have included “You’re not a pumpkin, don’t drive smashed,” “Drive egg-cellent somebunny needs you” and “Camp in Ohio state parks not the left lane.”

But the bottom line is neither the OSHP or ODOT can control the decisions made by drivers.

This year, 33 percent have been killed by not wearing seatbelts, while 32 percent were killed by speeding, ODOT spokesman, Matt Bruning said. He also says almost 50 percent of deaths were when drivers went off the road and 27 percent occurred at intersections,

“All the things we do go out the window if the driver decides ‘I’m going to go faster than the speed limit,’ or if the driver decides ‘I’m going to drive impaired’ or they decide ‘I’m going to look at my cell phone instead of looking at the road,” Bruning told a reporter for WBNS. “All the safety measures ODOT puts in place mean nothing at that point.”

Not a dime budgeted for ODOT can make a driver do the right thing. WE are in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions that keep us –and maybe others on the road — safer.

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