Perhaps reflecting the different ways in which people are traveling and a change in habits, the numbers released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol earlier this week about Fourth of July weekend traffic showed an unusual and tragic divergence.
On one hand, individual traffic incidents were down across the board in all categories– from crashes, OVI, to suspected license citations. Safety belt citations were 76.1% lower than in 2019.
At the same time, the State of Ohio experienced 22 traffic fatalities over the same period, the highest total since 2016. Of those killed, two were using safety belts, eight were not, and four either did not have belts installed or the usage was unknown.
Across Ohio there were 22,494 traffic contacts, which included providing assistance to more than 2,900 motorists.
Locally, 447 contacts were made in Richland County. Morrow County had 474 contacts, tenth highest of any county in Ohio, likely due to the long stretch of I71 in its borders.