LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Butler County is stepping up to try to keep the roads safe after seeing a surge in speed-related car crashes. Their latest public safety campaign is also in response to the deaths of two pedestrians who were hit by drivers in January.
"[Speed] is not always the number one factor, but it's a contributing factor in a greater number of crashes than it has been in decades,” said Carol Lucio, the coordinator of Butler County Safe Communities.
There has been a sharp increase in drivers speeding ever since the start of the pandemic, Lucio said, and that's one of the big concerns behind the county's new "Look Out For Each Other" awareness campaign.
"With less cars on the road more people feel free to travel at higher rates of speed which has led to a dramatic increase in speed related crashes,” Lucio said.
Another big concern is a spike in fatal pedestrian crashes. In January alone, two people were hit and killed by drivers in hamilton. According to the most recent data from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Hamilton ranked eighth in the state for fatal and serious pedestrian crashes. When you look at counties, Butler County is seventh across the state.
Trooper Jessica McIntyre said the Ohio State Highway Patrol is keeping an eye out for unsafe drivers and asking distracted motorists to take care on the roads.
“Again, just telling the motoring public to be aware of people that are not in their cars as well as the people that they're driving around as well,” she said.
OSHP and several other agencies or municipalities are also spreading word on social media and with street signs and banners.
"So it's best if people are paying attention to the speeds as well as being aware of the traffic that is around them,” McIntyre said.
From January 2016 through the end of last year, Butler County had 20 fatal pedestrian crashes, or four per year on average. The county has already had two of those crashes in 2021.
"It's so important to be aware of all of your surroundings,” Lucio said. “We just need to be less distracted."