Wednesday, September 08, 1999
Arrests up over holiday
Ohio patrol reports DUI, speeding increase over 1998 weekend
BY MICHAEL D. CLARK
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A beefed-up police presence on Ohio's highways helped increase arrests for drunken driving and speeding during the Labor Day weekend.
Also, 20 people died in highway accidents across the state, compared to 21 during the same holiday weekend in 1998, said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Gary Lewis.
Sgt. Lewis said the 20 fatalities counted from midnight Friday to midnight Monday included only seven people who were wearing seat belts. Four of the deaths were alcohol-related, he said.
In comparison, 12 people died on Ohio highways during each of the previous two non-holiday weekends, Sgt. Lewis said.
None of the holiday weekend fatalities occurred in southwest Ohio, he said, with most taking place in northern and central Ohio.
Kentucky State Police reported that 10 people died in highway accidents over the Labor Day holiday, which it measures from 6 p.m. Friday to midnight Monday.
In 1998, eight people died during the same period, said Kentucky State Police officials.
Of this year's 10 fatalities, four were alcohol-related and five victims were not wearing seat belts.
Indiana State Highway Patrol officials said Labor Day highway data were not available.
Sgt. Lewis said the Ohio State Highway Patrol had more officers working speed-enforcement areas along some of the state's busier highways. For the first time, 153 signs featuring a toll-free telephone number for motorists wanting to report traffic violations were posted along highways.
That apparently helped to result in an increase in DUI arrests 718 compared to 634 during the 1998 Labor Day weekend and speeding citations, which increased to 22,607 from 19,373 in 1998.
It's clear that the message against drinking and driving is not being heard, said Sgt. Lewis. Number one is we want to educate and number two is enforcement. Ultimately, the main goal is to save lives on the roadways.
He said speeding and traffic violation warnings were also up this year, with 14,154 motorists receiving warnings compared to 12,896 in 1998.
In Kentucky, troopers reported arresting 256 DUI offenders and issuing 3,241 citations for speeding.
Ohio's 57 highway patrol posts each had holiday staffing that was on average 10 percent to 15 percent higher than last year's Labor Day weekend. That meant an additional 140 troopers on the state's roads this year, state patrol officials said.
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