Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Fatal wrecks fewer in city

Police issuing more tickets

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Fewer people are dying in Cincinnati traffic accidents so far this year, and police say that's partly because they're catching more people speeding and driving drunk.

By the end of July, car wrecks in the city claimed 19 lives, according to police department statistics. That's down from 24 for the same period last year. Injury accidents dipped, too, by almost 11 percent, to 2,635.

The reductions come after a particularly deadly 2002, when the number of fatal wrecks more than tripled - from 13 in 2001 to 42 last year. Police supervisors studied them for common threads, but Chief Tom Streicher said they found their locations and causes varied too widely to conclude that there was something specific to blame, such as a problematic stretch of highway.

So the chief challenged his officers to step it up. He pointed out the connection between reduced traffic citations and fatalities and said they, of all people, should be concerned because they drive a lot and could be the victim of a bad driver.

And the citation numbers - issued on city streets and the parts of interstates 71, 74 and 75 that run through city limits - have jumped in every traffic category. From January through July, DUI arrests are up 33.5 percent over last year; seat-belt citations, 53 percent; speeding tickets from radar, 49 percent; overall moving violations - like running a red light - almost 46 percent.

The numbers still haven't bounced back to levels reached in 2000, the last year before officers staged an unofficial slowdown in response to what they perceived as a lack of support from City Hall after the April 2001 riots. The county has lost more than $1.5 million in fines since mid-2001.

Fifteen people were killed in traffic accidents in 2000.

"The best thing that we can do is keep aggressively enforcing these laws," Streicher said Monday.


E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com

Pulfer: Can the summer be over already?
Korte: Inside City Hall
Howard: Some good news
Crowley: Kentucky politics

Girl power: Kiss us, we rule
CPS first day: 25% no-shows
Frailey gets $6,800 pay hike
Norwood council prepared to OK Rookwood expansion
So long, Shortway: Bridge takes dive into river history
Cargo pilots are up in arms
Cops on watch for belt use
Fatal wrecks fewer in city
Internal auditors to review city's questionable deals
Lakota gets more room
Rabbis join Yavneh faculty
Miami march supports workers
Highway extension may not happen
Two Pughs now serve on council
Regional Report

Businessman who did work for Traficant sentenced
Voinovich won't return suspect donations

Oldest fair in state? Maybe
Boone seeks FedEx facility
DeMio to lead N.Ky. bureau
Bluegrass being taught in schools
Men arrested at alleged cockfight plead not guilty