Safe Communities of Wood County

Safe Communities has a message for those who text & drive

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities has announced that there have been three fatal crashes in Wood County for the calendar year 2019, compared to five the same time frame in 2018. *** Many of us have witnessed a distracted driver; they are often easy to spot. Some reading this article, may even admit to driving distracted in the past. With so many individuals, tuned into smartphones, texting from behind the wheel has become one of the most common causes of fatalities on the roads.That is why, Safe Communities of Wood County is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reach all drivers with an important warning: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some ways. Additionally, each year, over 330,000 accidents cause by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. Meaning, over 78 percent of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.Driving distracted is a life or death issue. Many do not understand how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road, hands of the wheel, and concentration off the task of driving safely it only takes a few seconds, to change your life or someone else’s. As a result, this April, the police presence on Ohio roads will increase. Anyone caught texting and driving will pay the price. “Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel,” said Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator for Wood County. “Do the right thing – put your phone away when you get behind the wheel.


CarFit helps senior drivers stay safe on the road

From From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Seniors represent the fastest-growing segment of drivers, with current projections suggesting that a quarter of all drivers will be over the age of 65 by 2025. Although seniors have an overall crash rate comparable to that of 20- and 30-year-old drivers, they are the most fragile drivers on the road, resulting in a higher death rate per mile driven than any other group. Senior Driver Statistics Seniors aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to be killed when involved in a crash.Last year of the 786 total drivers involved in fatal crashes in Ohio, nearly 150 drivers aged 66 or older died in crashes.In 2017 more than 8,000 senior drivers (aged 66 or older) were injured in crashes. These crashes also injured 2,200 senior passengers. In an effort to keep senior drivers driving as long as safely possible, Wood County Safe Communities Coalition will host one-on-one monthly CarFit checks for area senior drivers. CarFit was developed by the American Society on Aging in collaboration with AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association. It’s a community-based program that provides a quick, yet comprehensive 12-point check of how well you and your car work together. During the CarFit check-up, trained technicians will assess how well the senior driver’s car “fits” them. Technicians will check the steering wheel tilt/position, distance the driver sits from the steering wheel, line of sight above the steering wheel, position of driver to gas/brake pedal and help adjust mirror settings to eliminate blind spots. CarFit assessments can also identify senior related health problems and offer referrals for assistance. Recently AAA released the results on a research project about senior drivers, called the LongROAD study. The study found more than 70 percent of senior drivers had experienced health conditions that impact muscles and bones such as arthritis, hip/knee replacement and joint pains. Some seniors in the study reduced their driving due to these conditions. Safe Communities will provide one-on-one CarFit checks for mature drivers monthly at every Senior Center in Wood County as well as the local AAA office in Perrysburg. Following is the schedule for these events: Perrysburg Senior Center – 1st Wednesday of the month from 10 am to noonRossford Senior Center – 1st Wednesday of the month from 1 pm to 3 pmGrand Rapids Senior Center – 2nd Wednesday of the month from 10 am to noonBowling Green Senior Center – 2nd Wednesday of the month from 1 pm to 3 pmPemberville Senior Center – 3rd Wednesday of the month from 10 am to NoonWayne Senior Center – 3rd Wednesday of the month from 1 pm to 3 pmWalbridge Senior Center – 4th Tuesday of the month from 10 am to noonNorth Baltimore Senior Center – 4th Wednesday of the month from 10 am to noonPerrysburg AAA Car Care Center – 4th Thursday of the month from 10 am to noon Registration is required.  Call 419-372-9353 or email swiechm@bgsu.edu to reserve your spot today.  Space is limited to 5 persons.  Let’s strive for zero fatal crashes in 2019!


Safe Communities warns of dangers of aggressive driving

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities announced today that there has been one fatal crash in Wood County this year compared to three at this time last year. *** According to The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving has become a major concern of the public, ranking at or near the top of traffic safety issues in national surveys. The Foundation defines aggressive driving as any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention of disregard for safety. Examples of aggressive driving behaviors include (but not limited to): Speeding in heavy trafficTailgatingWeaving in and out of trafficBlocking cars attempting to pass or change lanes  As many as 56 percent of fatal crashes involve one or more unsafe driving behaviors typically associated with aggressive driving. Speeding is one of the most common contributing factors and is involved in nearly one in three deadly crashes.Tip to Combat Aggressive Driving: Plan your tripAvoid dangerous interaction and confrontationsAvoid eye contact with aggressive driversBe a courteous and patient driverObey the speed limitGet out of the way and let an aggressive driver passDon’t challenge aggressive drivers For more information  http://nwohio.aaa.com/traffic-safety/aggressive-driving  Let’s strive for zero fatal crashes in 2019!


Safe Communities committee reviews four fatal accidents

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities’ Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, Jan. 8, to review 4 fatal crashes from the fourth quarter of 2018. The following fatal crashes were reviewed:  9/29/2018 26250 W. River Rd.  10/24/2018 Poe at Wapakoneta  11/15/2018 I-75 at Turnpike off-ramp (SR 795)  11/29/2018 I-475 at I-75 The following countermeasures were established:  Drive within the posted speed limit  Drive for weather conditions  Obey all traffic laws  Remain with your vehicle when disabled on the interstate. Call #677 or 911 for assistance


Drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County wants to remind you that driving drowsy can be as deadly as driving drunk. As the darkness of winter season continues into the start of 2019, Safe Communities wants to remind you it’s essential to make sure you are always aware and alert while driving. Drowsy driving can be deadly so: Take a Break. Drive Awake. Everyone is vulnerable to the stress of life and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, drowsy driving is far too prevalent and is estimated to contribute to as many of 1.2 million collisions and 5,000 to 8,000 fatalities per year. Adults typically need 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night to be well rested and ready for the road; however, there are periods in the day, regardless of the previous night’s sleep, when people are most likely to feel sleepy: mid afternoon (2-6p.m.) and from midnight till 6 a.m. Spread the message: sleep is the only remedy for drowsy driving.The warning signs of drowsy driving include: o Having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused or the inability to keep your head up o Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts o Drifting from your lane or off the road, or tailgating o Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly o Missing or not remembering signs of your intended turn or exit or how far you have traveled o Being unable to remember how far you have traveled, or landmarks you have passed If Driving While Drowsy – Take a Break. Drive Awake. • Sleep is the only remedy for drowsy driving • Rolling down the window, turning up the radio or AC, or drinking a caffeinated beverage is not enough to stave off drowsiness. • Take a break to recharge with exercise. Physical activity such as a brisk walk or moving around gives a natural boost of energy. On long trips, schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to stretch and move around. • Do not drive alone. Vehicles in which the driver is accompanied by a passenger are nearly 5o percent less likely to be involved in a drowsy-driving-related crash.


Free New Year’s rides offered in Bowling Green

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities will again be providing free rides in Bowling Green on New Year’s Eve from 11 p.m. on Dec. 31 until the last person is home safe on New Year’s Day. In Wood County, 21 percent of fatal crashes involve alcohol compared to 26 percent statewide.  Four percent of all crashes in Wood County as well as statewide involve alcohol. We need to do whatever we can to make sure that these numbers do not increase over the New Year’s holiday. If you are in Bowling Green, call 419-823-7765 for a ride home.  We will provide rides within the city limits of Bowling Green and the surrounding 10-mile area.   Thayer Chevrolet, Wood County Committee on Aging, Wood County Hospital and Wood County Emergency Management have provided continued assistance.  This program would not be possible without the coalition members, local businesses, and volunteers who give of their time to make sure this program is a success.


Safe Communities warns about holiday driving dangers

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County announced today that there have been 13 fatal crashes in Wood County, compared to the 13 last year at this time. This is a number that is completely preventable. *** This holiday season, Safe Communities is teaming up with U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. With the holiday festivities and extra office parties taking place, it’s essential to plan a sober ride home before ever leaving for the event. This holiday, as you head out for a night of merrymaking, remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.The holidays should be a time for celebrations and make memories, not a time of nightmares for families. Unfortunately, alcohol at many holiday events contributes to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways. Spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many. If you feel buzzed, you are already drunk.Remember these tips to avoid an OVI and keep our roads safe: Remember it is never okay to drive drunk. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage. Plan Ahead! You know whether you’ll attend a party. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take your role seriously – Your friends are relying on you! Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices, and Apple’s iTunesStore for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up. Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.


BGSU gets grant to continue Safe Communities program

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University has received a $50,000 grant from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Ohio Traffic Safety Office to continue the Safe Communities of Wood County program through Sept. 30, 2019. This is the fifth consecutive year BGSU has received the grant. Grant money will be used to continue education and raising awareness regarding the use of seatbelts, operating a vehicle under the influence, motorcycle safety, distracted driving, senior citizen driving and commercial vehicles. Safe Communities will continue to participate in local community events throughout Wood County as well as education at local businesses and professional organizations. Safe Communities of Wood County was created in 2012 to establish a partnership of individuals from law enforcement, local governments, schools, businesses, health departments and community organizations to collaborate, creating awareness and prevention of death and injuries caused by traffic crashes. Safe Communities works to reduce the number of traffic-related deaths and injuries in Wood County through analysis of problem areas and promotion of and education about proper safety. Program goals include coalition building and fatality data review. New members interested in assisting with coalition goals are welcome; email swiechm@bgsu.edu for more information.


Safe Communities urges caution as time changes

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities announced today that there have been 11 fatal crashes to date compared to the 13 last year at this time. *** As the end of the year approaches, we are now reaching the time of the year everyone enjoys Daylight Savings Time. However, this one-hour change may have negative effects when it comes to road safety. According to the National Safety Council, the risk of being in a fatal crash is three times greater at night. Therefore, with night approaching sooner and the days getting shorter, please take extra caution when driving in the dark. Along with being more cautious at night, every driver should know the warning signs of, and how to avoid, drowsy driving. Having trouble keeping your head up, nodding off, veering into another lane or onto the rumble strip, and frequent yawning — are all signals that you are too drowsy to drive safely. Drowsy driving is estimated to contribute to 1.2 million collisions annually, resulting in potentially 5,000 to 8,000 fatalities per year. Despite these risks, experts agree that drowsy driving is far too prevalent. Lack of sleep slows reaction time, impairs judgment, and increases the risk of dozing off while driving. As we fall back and head towards winter, follow these tips to reduce accidents after the clocks change: • Keep your regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time you normally would, so you can benefit from that extra hour of sleep. • Before you pull out of the driveway, clean your headlights, brake lights and signal lights. • Give yourself plenty of time, time to get where you need or want to go. • Approach all crosswalks, intersections and transit stops with caution, as it will be harder to see pedestrians and cyclists • Heed the speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly to the weather conditions. • Maintain a safe following distance so you’re prepared to react under any situation


Safe Communities: Halloween is not occasion for making nightmares

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County has announced that the annual safe driving Halloween National Mobilization is October 3  to November 1, 2018. Each year, thousands of trick-or-treaters flock to the streets on Halloween night Thousands of others head to local bars and restaurants to also partake in the merry-making. Don’t put yourself and others at risk by choosing to drink and drive. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, Safe Communities of Wood County is teaming up with the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving. Halloween poses a potentially dangerous threat to pedestrians, as more people are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). In 2016, there were 13 vehicle occupants killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night. According to NHTSA, 44 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2012 to 2016 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. Children out trick-or-treating, and those who accompany them, are also at risk, as 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night (2012-2016) involved drunk drivers. Younger drivers are most at risk: The 21- to 34-year-old age group accounted for the most fatalities (46%) in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2016. Halloween is a time for making memories, not for causing nightmares. This Halloween, Safe Communities of Wood County would like to remind everyone to party responsibly and to be safe, while also keeping others safe by refraining from drunk driving.


Safe Communities urges caution as schools get back in session

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been seven fatal crashes in Wood County compared to eight at this same time last year. *** August is back to school month for local school districts and higher education facilities in Wood County. When traveling rural roads, please be attentive to school buses in the area picking up and dropping off the precious cargo. Watch for increased traffic in the area of school buildings and be mindful of the 20-mph school zone speed limit during restricted times. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will start its fall semester Aug. 27. Wooster Street is the main thoroughfare to enter the campus and shows a high volume of crashes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most crashes occur on Friday but with any event at BGSU, please be aware of the high volume of traffic and travel these areas with caution. Additionally, Owens Community College will start its fall semester in August. Watch for increased traffic on Oregon Road with students entering and exiting campus. Students are encouraged to be mindful of congestion in parking lots and be aware of their surroundings. Let’s prevent the high number of crashes that occur in your parking lots. Let’s make this back to school season the safest in history!!


Safe Communities cautions against drinking & driving over the July 4th holiday

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY This year as we celebrate our country’s birthday, thousands of families take to their cars driving to neighborhood cookouts, family picnics, and other summer festivities. Sadly, some of their Independence Day celebrations will end in tragedy as too many people decide to drink and drive. Unfortunately, their bad choices have lasting effects on families. According to NHTSA, 37,361 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2017, and 28 percent (10,497) of those fatalities occurred in a crash during which the driver had a BAC over the legal limit of .08. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads. Nighttime is especially dangerous: the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes during the 2017 July Fourth holiday period was more than three times higher at night than it was during the day. It’s essential that our community members understand the safety and financial risks they take when they drink and drive. Under no circumstance is it ever acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking. Doing so endangers you and everyone on the road with you. Before you head out for your celebrations, make sure you plan a sober way home. Law enforcement in Wood County is taking part in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign during the Fourth of July holiday weekend to put an end to drunk driving. In support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on the roads zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.


‘Saved by the Belt’ more than just a slogan for some

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last October, Richard “Fuzzy” David was driving a dump truck down U.S. 6 for his job with Jim Palmer Excavating when he was struck head-on. His truck was rammed so hard, it was turned sideways, the cab started to tear off the frame, and the driver’s door was pried open. David’s seat belt was credited with keeping him from flying out of the dump truck. He was injured, but was able to return to work – thanks to be buckled up at the time of the crash, said Sean Brennan, a friend and safety coordinator at Jim Palmer Excavating “He was saved by his belt,” Brennan said last week during a “Click It or Ticket” promotion organized by Wood County Safe Communities at Thayer Ford in Bowling Green. “There’s no way you can brace yourself,” Brennan said. “There’s no way you can get a seat belt on at the last minute.” Not only is wearing seat belts the law, it’s common sense, he added. Overall, Wood County motorists do pretty well at wearing their seat belts, according to Ohio State Patrol Lt Angel Burgos and Sandy Wiechman, coordinator of Wood County Safety Communities. Motorists’ use of seat belts in the county is 93 percent, compared to 84.3 percent in Ohio. Stops at various checkpoints in Wood County showed differing levels of compliance by drivers. The highest seat belt use (100 percent) was found in northern Wood County at Ohio 795 near the Interstate 75 interchange. The lowest compliance (83 percent) was found in southern Wood County on Ohio 18 at the I-75 interchange. Since 1975, seat belts have been credited with saving more than 300,000 lives in the U.S., according to Edgar Avila, president and chief executive officer of AAA. Last year, the Midwest ranked second in the nation for highest seat belt usage. “Let’s shoot for first place next year,” Avila said. Avila also stressed that it’s the driver’s duty to make sure everyone in the vehicle is belted in. “You are responsible for everyone riding in your vehicle,” he said. “Don’t be a casualty. Please wear your seat belts.” In Wood County, 38 percent of the fatal crashes in 2016 involved unbelted drivers and passengers. That number dropped in 2017 to 33 percent. “We need to do better,” Wiechman said. She suggested that motorists make it automatic to buckle up anytime they get into a vehicle. “Just like brushing your teeth,” she said. “It only takes one time for a tragedy to happen.” Friday’s “Click It or Ticket” event was held at the beginning of the nation’s big driving Memorial Day weekend at the start of summer. Also receiving a “Saved By the Belt” award, but not present, were Levi Colley and Emily Sattler. The two were on Eckel Junction Road in Perrysburg when they were struck by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. “The force was so great, they were overturned,” Wiechman said. But neither were thrown out. “We’re so grateful their belts held them in place.”


Luck of the Irish won’t help drunk drivers

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s most popular times to celebrate and party. Unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking alcohol, making this holiday also one of the most dangerous. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays on the road our nation’s roads. During the 2012-2016 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18), 269 lives were lost due in drunk- driving crashes. In 2016, drunk driving killed more than 10,000 people in our country, and every single one of those deaths was preventable. To keep the roads safer, Wood County Safe Communities is reaching out with an important life-saving message and warning: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you plan to celebrate with alcohol this St. Patrick’s Day, follow these tips to stay safer:  Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.  If you’re planning on driving, commit to staying sober. If you’ve been out drinking and then get behind the wheel, you run the risk of causing a crash or getting arrested for a DUI.  Help those around you be responsible, too. Walking while intoxicated can be deadly, as lack of attention could put you at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.  If someone you know is drinking, do not let him or her get behind the wheel.  If you see someone who appears to be driving drunk, pull over to a safe location and call the police. Your actions could help save a life. Remember this St. Patrick’s Day: Plan Before You Party! Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.


Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride “is a complete community endeavor”

To the Editor: To quote Robert F. Kennedy, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” Once again, this happened in Bowling Green this past New Year’s Eve. Armed with a host of volunteers and two vans, 85 persons took advantage of the Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride Program. The riders were met with smiles, laughs and warm vehicles. Our volunteers were greeted with cold and thankful students who were in disbelief that people would volunteer on New Year’s Eve to make sure that they made it home safely. This program is a complete community endeavor and I am thankful for each and every person and business that supports Safe Communities of Wood County. I cannot thank  enough our Media partners for making sure there was continuous promotion on local radio and television, as well as Best Western and Fairfield Inn for providing information on their billboards and to their patrons. Pagliai’s Pizza, Frisch’s East Wooster, Oasis, Cookie Jar, Waffle House and the local bars for promoted the program with stickers and table tents, and the Safe Communities Coalition for always supporting the program. To the numerous citizens who posted and shared on Facebook, who “retweeted” on Twitter, or posted on their Instagram we thank you! I would be remiss if I did not thank those who CHOSE a safe ride home. Not only did they take advantage of our program, over 300 people chose safe rides with Super Cab, and numerous others who chose Uber. Thank you Super Cab for supporting our efforts! You are a great partner in making sure no one drives impaired in Bowling Green year round. We have made our corner of the State of Ohio safer, and I look forward to being able to continue to grow this program until we have the entire county with safe rides….stay tuned! Sandy Wiechman, Coordinator Safe Communities of Wood County