The Licking County Health Department’s (LCHD) Safe Communities Coalition reported five crash fatalities in the county during the third quarter of 2022, August 1st to October 31st. Each of the five fatalities involved the drivers and/or passengers either not utilizing safety equipment or driving distracted. During the same time frame last year, there were also five reported crash fatalities.
According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%. NHTSA also reported that the number of deaths linked to driver distraction was 3,142 nationwide, or almost 9% of all fatalities, in 2019. This represents a 10% increase over the year 2018, or 284 more fatalities. The distraction figure was the largest increase in causes of traffic deaths reported for 2019.
Millennials and Generation Z are the most distracted drivers, often using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel. According to NHTSA research from 2017, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. In 2019, 9% of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crash. The Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement will continue efforts to decrease fatalities by reminding everyone to remove distractions while behind the wheel. It can wait! Although simple, the Coalition wants to remind Licking County to make smart decisions and that safety equipment saves lives.
The Coalition is a group of community partners with a goal to reduce traffic-related deaths. It is administered by the Licking County Health Department and provides traffic fatality updates quarterly to the community. It is the Coalition’s mission to educate the public about the consequences of dangerous driving behaviors such as drinking and driving, reckless driving, distracted driving, not wearing a seat belt, and not wearing a helmet when operating a motorcycle. The fatality updates keep the public informed on the common driving behaviors that cause fatal crashes and educate the community to create safer drivers.
For more information on traffic safety issues and crash data in Licking County visit the Ohio State Highway Patrol website.