The program, which was funded by a grant from the Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO), kicked off Friday at the Huron County Fair.
According to the OTSO website, “Ohio Safe Communities is a data driven initiative to save lives and reduce injuries by building collaboration between state, county and local community partners.”
For the fiscal year, 2017, the website lists 45 countywide community-based programs, each of which had five primary goals that included “increasing seat belt usage, increasing seat belt and impaired driving awareness, increasing motorcycle safety awareness, coalition building and fatal data review.”
Lieutenant Doug Hamman, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the program focuses not just on the law enforcement aspect of traffic related injuries and fatalities, but also the education piece. That’s where the health department will come in, serving as a “community-based partner,” Hamman said.
Hamman said the highway patrol will be present with the health department at a variety of community events geared toward drivers of all ages.
“In the spring we’re going to do mock crashes and prom presentations ... we’re going to try to do some events at high school football games and festivals where we can set up tents and just educate about safe driving,” he added.
“We’re figuring out that education is key for a lot of things,” Lindsey Leber, of Huron County Public Health, said. “Not that they don’t hear it in other ways, but we just really want to start talking about it more.”
Hamman also said today marks the start of the enforcement side of the Drive Sober Get Pulled Over campaign, which seeks to reduce the amount of fatal crashes per year.
Last year in Huron County, there were eight fatal crashes, three of which were drug or alcohol related. This year, that number is down to four fatal crashes, only one being related to drugs or alcohol.