The surprises delivered to the world in 2020 extended even to driving the roads of Ohio and to motor vehicle accidents. Though driving miles and even vehicle accidents decreased for much of the year, fatalities on the road increased.
Preliminary data reveals an atypical year for state roadways.
An increase in traffic deaths
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that from January 2020 to July 23, 588 people died on Ohio roads. During this same time, the overall crash rate for the state declined by 25%. Over the same period in the prior year, 11 fewer people died in state motor vehicle accidents.
Authorities blamed the increase in deaths on excessive speed. One study verified that drivers in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland sped more in 2020. Authorities also reported more instances of extreme speeding. During one nearly four-month period, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers handed out 1,159 tickets for drivers exceeding 100 miles per hour, an increase of 76% from 2019.
More info on state driving trends
A report by ABC 6 News verified the trend of a dangerous driving season in Ohio. A Highway Patrol spokesperson said traffic deaths increased by 5% last year, and by at least as much as 13% in some counties. The representative attributed this trend to people feeling a false sense of security due to less traffic on the roads.
As 2020 winds down, authorities worry the deadly trend will continue even as billboards encourage people to stay safe and stay home. Winter weather could also contribute to more dangerous crashes on slippery roads over the next several months.