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CINCINNATI - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is asking drivers to be cautious on the roads Memorial Day after after several fatal accidents took place statewide during the early portion of the holiday weekend.
As of Sunday evening, six people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Ohio since Friday. One of those fatalities took place in Cincinnati when a 26-year-old pedestrian, Mackenzie Cleary, was struck and killed by driver in College Hill.
Officials from the OHP said while six deaths is still too many, the number is actually an improvement over past years.
Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a dangerous holiday period on Ohio roadways, particularly for impaired driving crashes. Last Memorial Day, seven of the 13 people killed on Ohio roads were involved in alcohol-related crashes, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol website .
Part of the reason for the decrease in fatalities has to do with an increased presence by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which has twice as many troopers on the streets this weekend than it usually does.
The extra manpower is helping to handle an increased number of drivers on the roads.
Jackie Gross of Saylor Park said she prepared for a traffic-filled Memorial Day but has been surprised by the amount of traffic throughout the weekend.
"I thought [Monday] would be really bad, but I thought they were really bad today and I've seen a lot of police officers," Gross said.
Sgt. Scott Bierer of the OHP said his department is doing all it can to promote safe driving throughout the Buckeye State -- not just during Memorial Day, but every day.
One way they're ensuring safe driving is through the "Click It or Ticket" campaign, which can fine drivers up to $100 for not wearing their seat belts.
The goal of the campaign is to encourage all motorists to buckle their seat belts, a habit Bierer said will cut down on the number of "senseless fatalities" on the roadways regardless of the amount of traffic.
"Overall, the compliance has increased," he said about the campaign that runs through June 2. "I think it is its highest ever actually and there are still people out there not buckling up. [There are] a lot of senseless fatalities because of that."
Gross said seeing signs for the policy on the roads has helped remind her to buckle up.
Even if you're a safe driver, Bierer said buckling up can protect you against the reckless driving habits of others, things like driving over the speed limit or drinking and driving.
If you notice someone you suspect is driving while intoxicated, the OHP asks that you to report it to them by dialing 677 on your cellphone.
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