Cuyahoga County DUI Task Force to Focus Click It or Ticket Efforts on High Risk Drivers

The Cuyahoga County DUI Task Force launched Operation Save Lives Tuesday, May 24 at a press conference held at the Gateway Plaza next to Progressive Field.  Task Force representatives announced enforcement crackdown locations, dates and times as well as presented the data that supports this high profile enforcement effort.

Based on results of a review of 2008-2010 crash data provided by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Operation Save Lives will target areas with a history of impaired driving, unbelted, nighttime crashes throughout the Click It or Ticket campaign.  "Combining nighttime seatbelt enforcement, OVI check points and saturation patrols during Click It or Ticket will give us the best opportunity to reduce injuries and fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes in Cuyahoga County," said Parma Chief of Police Robert Miller.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that while seat belt use rates are increasing in Ohio and throughout the nation, there are many high-risk motorists who continue to ride unrestrained, including latenight drivers, young males, drivers with violations and crashes on their records, and drinking drivers.  Cuyahoga County crashes are following this trend.  From 2008 to 2010 there were 2,100 non-belted OVI crashes in Cuyahoga County, 60% of those crashes occurred between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.  "We looked at the numbers and the maps and this trend was too severe to ignore," said Ohio Sate Highway Patrol Staff Lieutenant Monte Morgan.

Worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent for front-seat passenger car occupants and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV, and minivan occupants.  "Law enforcement agencies throughout Cuyahoga County have been participating in Click It or Ticket for over five years -- we've convinced everyone who 'didn't know' seat belts save lives to buckle up.  Operation Save Lives will target those hard core hold outs that think that either the law of Ohio or the law of physics doesn't apply to them," stated Chief Miller.

Operation Save Lives is based on the experience of jurisdictions in other states that have positively impacted crash related deaths and injuries on their roadways with similar enforcement efforts.  "We're taking operation procedures from other experienced jurisdictions and tailoring them to work in our community," said Chief Miller.

Operation Save Lives will target high crash zones throughout Cuyahoga County between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. on the weekends through June 6.  The Ohio Department of Transportation will be working with the task force to warn motorists about the campaign with messages on their programmable sign boards along the interstate and with mobile sign boards that will be placed in the designated enforcement zones.  "Our goal is not ot write seat belt tickets, but to get motorists to buckle up," said Lt. Morgan.  "But if we catch you without your seat belt on you will be ticketed.  We're giving fair warning -- there will be no breaks."

The Cuyahoga County DUI Task Force is a multi-juristictional coalition of 45 law enforcement agencies dedicated to making Northeast Ohio roads safer for all of us; the task force is part of the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition.
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