Fatal crashes up in 2013

Fatal crash rates were up in Seneca and Sandusky counties in 2013 despite a decrease statewide.

According to a release from the Fremont Post of the State Highway Patrol, 11 fatal traffic crashes were reported in Seneca County last year and four were reported in Sandusky County. In the 11 crashes reported in Seneca County, 14 people were killed.

Lt. Matthew Meredith of the State Highway Patrol said in 2012, eight fatal crashes with 10 deaths had been reported in Seneca County.

Statewide, fatal crashes went from 1,024 in 2012 to 906 in 2013, according to information from the State Highway Patrol

Many of the crashes in Seneca County, Meredith said, can be attributed to distracted driving.

“A lot of it comes from people not paying attention,” Meredith said.

According to the release, of the 11 fatal crashes in Seneca County, six were caused by drivers failing to yield, three were caused by speed, and two were caused by driving left of center. The release also states that one crash involved alcohol and drugs, and two of the 14 people killed in the crashes were not wearing safety belts.

“On top of (distracted driving), they’re not protecting themselves from crashes by wearing a safety belt,” Meredith said.

Meredith said seat belt usage is important because it keeps vehicle occupants in their seats and protects them from the various things that go on during a crash.

According to the release, along with wearing a safety belt, drivers should get rid of distractions in vehicles.

To help reduce fatal traffic crashes, the Fremont Post of the State Highway Patrol plans to step up its enforcement efforts this year by focusing on speed, left of center, failure-to-yield violations, impaired drivers, and most importantly people not wearing a safety belt, according to the release.