Wood County Safe Communities

Distracted driving – simulator teaches safety behind the wheel

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With no warning, a car strays into the neighboring lane. “Is this not Bowling Green,” said Sandy Wiechman, Wood County Safe Communities coordinator. “You really have to pay attention.” The driver manages to avoid a collision, but seconds later, a dog runs into the street. She slams on the brakes, but it’s too late. “She just killed a dog,” Wiechman said. In this instance the dog and the driver are fine, since the crash occurred on Wood County Safe Communities’ distracted driving simulator. The simulator gives drivers an idea of the distractions out on the road, without the threat of injuries. The “driver” sits behind the steering wheel, with control of the wheel, the gas pedal and the brake. But there is much the driver has no control over. “You’ve got distractions all over the place,” Wiechman said. There’s a soccer ball that rolls out on the street, fire trucks approaching, construction cones, sun glaring into the windshield, school buses stopping, dogs and cats dashing into the road, pedestrians and bicyclists. And then there are the distractions inside the vehicle. There’s an annoying passenger who keeps asking the driver to make a call or text for him. In Wood County, about 4.5 percent of car crashes are blamed on driver distraction. In 2017, drivers reported the following distractions: Cell phone, 25; texting or emailing, 5; other electronic communication device, 7; electronic devices such as navigation devices, DVD player or radio, 39; others inside the vehicle, 99; and external distractions outside the vehicle, 84. Wiechman said the distractions go far beyond texting. Some people try eating lunch, check out the neighbor’s yard, or look to see if they know the bicyclist as they pass. “I refuse to do it just on texting. There are just so many things that can happen,” she said. “You never know when a kid is going to dart out into traffic,” Wiechman said. “One time can ruin your life and someone else’s life.” Even conversation in the car can be distracting. “You just have to pay 100 percent attention,” she said. It isn’t long before the “driver” is cut off by another car, swerves to avoid that vehicle and then hits an oncoming vehicle head-on. The simulator screen then gives the driver a view of the EMS crew standing over as an air ambulance lands nearby. The driving simulator is more important now, Wiechman said, since schools no long offer drivers education, and most students take driving classes online. “They think they are more in control than they really are,” she said. The simulator can also be used to show drivers the challenges of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “It simulates drunk for you,” Wiechman said. After the motorist crosses into oncoming traffic, a police officer pulls the car over and asks for a driver’s license. Upon smelling alcohol in the car, the officer then asks the driver to exit the vehicle to do a field sobriety test. The driving simulator was purchased in 2017 with donations from the Bowling Green Dancing with the Stars event and from the Rossford Police Department. “We’ve been using it non-stop since,” Wiechman said. “This is just invaluable to me.” The simulator is usually used with students…


Summer fatal accidents reviewed

Wood County Safe Communities announced today that the Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to review 3 fatal crashes from the third quarter of 2018. The following fatal crashes were reviewed:  I-280 in Lake Township  SR 795 at I280  SR 105 at Chamberlain Rd. The following countermeasures were established:  Drive within the posted speed limit  Don’t Drive Distracted  Obey all traffic laws  Obey all traffic control devices  Maintain a safe distance when driving and for the conditions  Always look twice at an intersection


Safe Communities reviews four fatal crashes

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that the Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, July 10, o review four fatal crashes from the second quarter of 2018. The following fatal crashes were reviewed:  3100 Brown Rd. Northwood  Rt 199 at DeWitt Rd.  I-75 at I-475 entrance ramp  Rt 199 at DeWitt Rd. The following countermeasures were established:  Drive within the posted speed limit  Always wear your seatbelt  Reduce speed in inclement weather  Don’t Drive Distracted  Remain with your vehicle when disabled on the interstate. Call #677 or 911 for assistance Two crashes are pending and will be reviewed in the 3rd quarter.


Safe Communities reports on fatal crashes

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today there have been six fatal crashes in Wood County compared to seven last year at this time. This is a decrease of one crash to date. This month Safe Communities is highlighting National Safety Awareness. National Safety Month promotes four key aspects each week, including: emergency preparedness, wellness, falls and driving. By avoiding distracted driving and focusing on buckling up, you can increase safety on the roadway. Distracted driving is a public issue that affects us all. More than 40,000 people were killed on the nation’s roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor. Each death is 100 prevention preventable. Cell phones, dashboard infotainment systems, and evolving voice command features all pose a threat to our safety. Taking just one second of your attention away from the task of driving is all it takes to change a life forever. Additionally, during a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Being thrown from a vehicle almost always leads to injury. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Let’s make this summer a fun and safe one!


Safe belts help protect drivers, passengers in the event of a crash

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been six fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2018, the same number as this time last year. During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being completely thrown out of your vehicle almost always leads to injury. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. In 2015, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,941 lives of occupants ages 5 and older. The Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on safety education, strong laws, and law enforcement officers saving lives. Though some believe airbags can replace seat belts in the event of an accident, the force of being thrown into a rapidly opening airbag could injure or even kill. Airbags were designed to work in conjunction with seat belts to maximize safety efforts. Your pelvis and rib cage are more able to withstand crash force than other parts of your body, which is why it’s important to secure your seat belt over these areas. If impact should occur, these areas will be able to take more of the pressure from seat belts and airbags to protect the rest of the body. There are several steps you can take to get the best seat belt fit for your safety. When buying a car, test the belts provided to see if they are a good fit for you. You can talk to your car dealer about options for seat belt adjusters and extenders if necessary. For those with older vehicles, your seat belt may be outdated for current standards. Check with the vehicle manufacturer to determine the best option for you.


Route 6 project steering toward fewer fatal crashes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   U.S. 6 offers few challenges to drivers. It’s about has flat and straight as they come. But the route that stretches east-west just south of Bowling Green is the site of many fatal crashes. “It’s the number one deadly killer road in Wood County,” said Sandy Wiechman, coordinator of Wood County Safety Communities. In the past three years, there have been 18 fatalities on Route 6 in Wood, Henry and Sandusky counties. During that same period, there have been 252 injuries and 745 property damage incidents on the roadway. So the route is now the focus of “Safe 6 Initiative,” which will coordinate law enforcement agencies to target aggressive driving behaviors on Route 6. The top causes for crashes on the route have been identified as failure to yield, failure to keep assured clear distance, going left of center, unsafe speeds, and improper passing. Route 6 is the second largest federal highway in the U.S., second only to U.S. 20, Wiechman said during a gathering Tuesday of area law enforcement, Ohio Department of Transportation and AAA officials. On its route from California to Massachusetts, Route 6 travels across Ohio farmland in the west, up to Lake Erie, and then through wooded areas of Ohio’s east. “It cuts through the heartland of Ohio,” Wiechman said. The roadway is used by many area residents for their daily commutes. Traffic increases in the summer, as motorists use the route to get to Lake Erie or other vacation destinations. Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Angel Burgos, of the Bowling Green post, said Route 6 is known for being a dangerous road, high in fatalities. Burgos has had to make death notifications to families of the victims. “The driving behavior just needs to change,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make Route 6 a lot safer this summer.” The high number of crashes on the route is a “head-scratcher,” according to Staff Lt. Jerrod Savidge, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It’s straight. It’s flat. It’s kind of a boring drive,” Savidge said. Many of the crashes are caused by drivers failing to yield or going left of center. Edgar Avila, president and chief executive officer of AAA, is working with local law enforcement on the traffic safety initiative. More than 90 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error, he said. “AAA is happy to partner with Wood County Safe Communities,” Avila said. One of the focuses will be to take away distractions when driving. “AAA is asking drivers to put away devices and just drive,” Avila said. Wiechman agreed. “It does only take one time,” for a crash to occur. “We need to buckle up, hang up and heads up.” Drivers stopped on Route 6 will be handed safety information. Tips for avoiding potential crashes for those in passenger cars: Obey all traffic control devices. Follow the speed limit. If the weather is hazardous, adjust your speed accordingly. Always wear your seatbelt. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car in front of you. Stay focused on your driving. To avoid crashes with commercial vehicles: Remember, if you cannot see the driver, they cannot see you. Allow for safe lane change. Maintain a safe distance. Be patient. Allow extra space for stopping.


Safe Communities reports 4th quarter road fatalities

Wood County Safe Communities has announced that the Fourth Quarter Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. The following fatal crashes from the Fourth Quarter of 2017 were reviewed: • Route 6 between Wayne and Pemberville Roads • River Rd. Between Bates and White Roads • Route 6 at Rudolph Road. In all five people died in the crashes, including two sisters and their mother in the Route 6 and Rudolph Road accident. The following countermeasures were established: • Obey all Traffic Laws • Do not drive Left of Center • Obey all Traffic Control Devices For More Information: • Lt. Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481 • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator: 419-372-9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu


Wood County Safe Communities reviews three fatal crashes

Wood County Safe Communities held its quarterly Fatal Data Review on Tuesday, October 10. Three crashes were reviewed from the third quarter of 2017. The crashes reviewed were:  Route 20 at Oakmead in Perrysburg Township  Route 795 at Broadway  Route 199 a t Dowling Road The countermeasures established as a result of these crashes are as follows:  Always wear your seatbelt  Always be attentive when driving  Always obey all traffic control devices  Do not drive impaired


Drivers urged to be aware of student activity

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today (Aug. 11) that there have been 8 fatal crashes in Wood County compared to 9 at this same time last year. August is back to school month for local school districts and higher education facilities in Wood County. When travelling rural roads, please be attentive to school buses in the area picking up and dropping of their 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. Owens Community College will start its fall semester in August. Watch for increased traffic on Oregon Road for students entering and exiting campus. Students be mindful of congestion in parking lots and be aware of your surroundings. Let’s prevent the high number of crashes that occur in your parking lots. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will also return beginning August 21. 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. Let’s make this back to school season the safest in history!!


Fatal crashes reviewed

Wood County Safe Communities held their quarterly Fatal Data Review on Tuesday, June 10, 2017. Two crashes were reviewed from the second quarter of 2017 and one was deferred to the third quarter for review. The crashes reviewed were:  Route 25 at Pearl St. in the City of Bowling Green  Route 480 and Route 795  Route 20 at Oakmead in Perrysburg Township (Deferred to Third Quarter) The countermeasures established as a result of these crashes are as follows:  Always wear your seatbelt  Do not drive at an excessive speed  Always be attentive when driving  Always obey all traffic control devices  Do not drive impaired  Know your driving limitations


Wood County seeing more fatal crashes

Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been eight fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2017, compared to five for the same time frame in 2016.  This is an increase of three crashes. Listed below is an overview of the crash statistics for January – May 2017 for Wood County: 267 injury crashes 974 property damage crashes 19% of crashes happen on Friday 9% of crashes happen at 3 pm 25% of crashes are to a fixed object 43% are on a clear day 61% are during daylight hours 63% are on dry roads 9% involve deer   We encourage you to continue your safe driving habits so everyone makes it home safe. #drivesafeohio


Heatstroke leading killer of children; safety council offers prevention advice

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been seven fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2017, compared to four for the same time frame in 2016. Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children in the United States. In fact, in 2016, there were 39 preventable deaths of children in vehicles, a 63-peercent increase from 2015. Simple steps for caregivers to prevent heatstroke: Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended. Even for a minute. Make it a habit to look in the back seat when exiting the car – every time. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach of children. Simple steps for bystanders to prevent heatstroke: Make sure the child is OK and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately. If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system. If there is someone with you, have one person actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car. If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child – even if that means breaking a window. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult, and heatstroke can occur with outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach a deadly heat level in just about 10 minutes. Look Before You Lock.


Safe Communities reviews five fatal crashes

Wood County Safe Communities held their quarterly Fatal Data Review on Tuesday, April 4. Five crashes were reviewed from the first quarter of 2017. The crashes reviewed were:  Rte 6 at Wapakoneta Rd.  2111 E. Wooster St. in Bowling Green  I-280 at Mile Post 1  Curtice and Wheeling in Northwood  I-75 at Mile Post 170 The countermeasures established as a result of these crashes are as follows:  Always wear your seatbelt  Do not drive at an excessive speed  Always be attentive when driving  Always obey all traffic control devices  Do not drive impaired  Always secure children properly in approved Child Restraints For more information, please contact Lt. Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol, at 419-352-2481


Seat belts are the best defense against crash injuries

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been six fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2017, compared to four for the same time frame in 2016. During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being completely thrown out of your vehicle almost always leads to injury. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. In 2015, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,941 lives of occupants ages 5 and older. The Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on safety education, strong laws, and law enforcement officers saving lives. Though some believe airbags can replace seat belts in the event of an accident, the force of being thrown into a rapidly opening airbag could injure or even kill. Airbags were designed to work in conjunction with seat belts to maximize safety efforts. Your pelvis and rib cage are more able to withstand crash force than other parts of your body, which is why it’s important to secure your seat belt over these areas. If impact should occur, these areas will be able to take more of the pressure from seat belts and airbags to protect the rest of the body. There are several steps you can take to get the best seat belt fit for your safety. When buying a car, test the belts provided to see if they are a good fit for you. You can talk to your car dealer about options for seat belt adjusters and extenders if necessary. For those with older vehicles, your seat belt may be outdated for current standards. Check with the vehicle manufacturer to determine the best option for you.


Aggressive driving is an increasing problem

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today there have been four fatal crashes this year, compared to two at the same 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 single unsafe driving behavior performed deliberately and with ill-intention.” As many as 56 percent of fatal crashes involve one or more unsafe driving behaviors typically associated with aggressive driving. Speeding is the most common contributing factor and is involved in nearly one in three deadly crashes. Tips to combat aggressive driving Don’t have a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude Plan your trip Avoid dangerous interactions and confrontations Avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers Do not take the actions of other drivers personally Be a courteous and patient driver Do not tailgate and use the left lane only when passing Obey the speed limit Use signals and with plenty of warning Use the horn only as a safety device Identify alternative routes Just be late Get out of the way and let an aggressive driver pass Don’t challenge aggressive drivers