COLUMBUS, Ohio - Traffic deaths in Ohio could hit a record low this year.
Ohio State Highway Patrol statistics show that the state could even dip below 1,000 traffic fatalities this year for the first time since the state began keeping records, The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.
There were 823 traffic deaths in Ohio through Monday, according to the State Highway Patrol. That's the lowest number to that date since 2011, when the year-end death toll was 1,016.
Officials attribute the improving numbers to people slowing down on the roads, troopers' handling of traffic stops and collaboration between the patrol, sheriffs and police departments on joint enforcement efforts.
The Ohio Department of Transportation began keeping records in 1936, when there were 2,389 fatalities and about 1.9 million registered vehicles in the state. That works out to 12.38 deaths per 10,000 vehicles.
Traffic deaths peaked in Ohio at 2,778 in 1969, but by then, more than 6.2 million vehicles were on the road. That made the fatality rate 4.46 per 10,000 vehicles.
Vehicle safety improvements, including safety belts and air bags, and better highway-construction techniques have helped drive those numbers down since then.
By last year, the number of deaths reached 1,130. With more than 11.8 million vehicles on the roads, it works out to 0.95 deaths per 10,000 vehicles.
The patrol said the number of accidents of all kinds last year was 287,035 -- the lowest in Ohio since 1973.
Patrol Superintendent Paul Pride say the decrease in accidents can be attributed to motorists reducing speeds and troopers' handling of traffic stops.
"We asked our troopers to slow down, talk to people and listen to what they're saying," Pride told The Dispatch. "That has helped us to drive down the fatal numbers."
Pride said the patrol is taking a more balanced approach to enforcing traffic laws and making stops for other crimes, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court says divisions about the death penalty on a panel that spent more than two years studying capital…
A federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in states that allow same-sex marriage.
A man is facing charges after deputies say he was flying a video camera-equipped drone that hindered the landing of a medical helicopter at…
Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases.
A veteran northeast Ohio appellate judge will sit in when the Ohio Supreme Court decides in a lawsuit against traffic camera enforcement.
A man accused of harassing a neighbor and her disabled children for the past 15 years sat at a street corner Sunday morning with a sign…
Police have found the body of a southwest Ohio woman who went missing last month and say they are investigating her death as a homicide.
A law proposed in the Ohio legislature could help you avoid speed traps and speeding tickets -- all with the flick of a switch.
Health officials tracking a mumps outbreak in central Ohio say there are now 189 confirmed cases, with 120 linked to Ohio State University.
Prosecutors would need much stronger evidence against a murder defendant before bringing death penalty charges under recommendations proposed…