COLUMBUS: Ohio had a record-low number of traffic deaths in 2013, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the State Highway Patrol.
At least 923 people died on Ohio roads during the past year, and additional deaths are under review but have not been confirmed as traffic deaths, making the possible total 981. It would be the first time Ohio has had fewer than 1,000 traffic deaths since record-keeping began in 1936.
The previous low was 1,016 in 2011, according to the patrol’s revised statistics. In 2012, Ohio had 1,122 deaths.
Starting in the late 1960s, Ohio logged at least 2,500 traffic deaths for five consecutive years, with a record high of more than 2,770 in 1969. Factors contributing to the decrease and improved road safety include better emergency medical care, improved engineering of vehicles and roads, and law enforcement and educational efforts by various agencies.
This year, the patrol partly credits an increased focus on high-traffic metropolitan areas. Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, had 18 fewer traffic fatalities in 2013 than 2012, and the total for Franklin County, which includes Columbus, dropped by 11, preliminary counts said.