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Traffic fatalities rose in 2015 from previous years

Even though car accidents have generally been declining over the past few decades, in Ohio as well as the rest of the country, the last two years have seen a surprising and unfortunate increase in crashes. Though the official numbers have not been released yet, so far the Ohio Highway Patrol has recorded an unfortunate 1073 deaths on the roads in 2015. The number of traffic deaths is expected to keep rising, as the final numbers will be available somewhere in March. This is the second time in a row that traffic deaths have risen in Ohio-in 2014 the number went up to 1008 from the 990 in 2013.

So far, no one factor can be singled out to be the cause of the increase. In fact, in order to decrease the number of accidents, authorities have begun construction projects in areas where accidents are more likely to occur and expanding stretches of roads to make them safer.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials keep identifying the area that should be regulated-texting and driving and seatbelt use-but these are not being regulated strictly. As mentioned previously, texting while driving or failing to put on a seatbelt is not a primary violation for adult drivers, as it is for teen drivers. This means that an officer cannot stop a driver for not wearing a seatbelt or texting.

Raising awareness about these issues is one way to get people to stop engaging in these dangerous activities. Any form of distraction, such as glancing at the cellphone while behind the wheel, can mean the difference between life and death for not only the driver engaging in the behavior but also those on the road around them. Another way to highlight the issue is to consider holding a negligent or distracted driver accountable for their actions through a civil law suit.

Source: Sandusky Register, "Ohio traffic deaths rose in 2015," Tom Jackson, Jan. 10, 2016

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