For the first time in over seven decades, the state of Ohio recorded less than 1,000 traffic deaths in a calendar year.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said that at least 923 people died on Ohio roads in 2013. That number may rise as additional deaths are under review and have not been confirmed as traffic deaths, but the total will still fall below the 1,000 mark for the first time since 1936, the year that records began being kept by the state.
The previous low was in 2011 when 1,016 motorists were reported to have died in traffic accidents in the Buckeye State. Troopers reported at total of 1,122 traffic deaths in 2012.
The patrol’s superintendent, Col. Paul Pride, credited increased seat belt use and a decrease in driver impairment as key factors affecting the number of deaths.
“That’s all well and good,” Col. Pride said in a statement about the decrease in traffic deaths, “unless you’re the family of one of those folks that perished on our roadways, and it’s not so good a year for you. And we recognize that.”
The vast majority of deaths on Ohio’s roadways involve single fatalities, but in a rare occurrence, Ohio had two crashes that each killed six people in 2013, one in Warren County and the other in Franklin County.
In 1969, over 2,770 traffic deaths were reported in Ohio in 1969, the highest total on record.