‘Too many lives lost.’ Law enforcement teams up to reduce excessive speeds, fatal crashes

There have been too many fatal crashes in Montgomery County this year, local law enforcement agencies said Wednesday, so they are teaming up to enforce a new traffic initiative to curb those incidents.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Dayton Police, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Trotwood Police announced the Dayton Service Initiative. The agencies will use statistics and citizen complaints to target problem areas throughout the county including U.S. 35, I-75, Selma Avenue and others.

ExploreMore Ohioans killed in fatal crashes so far in 2021

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Geoff Freeman said the agencies will team up to strategically enforce traffic laws during days and times when crashes happen most. He said the agencies will communicate with the public to alert them of the enforcement times and the initiative will last as long as the fatal crash numbers remain high.

“Our goal in this is really simple, it’s to reduce fatal crashes,” Freeman said.

Freeman said there have been 42 fatal crashes so far this year. In 2018 there were 47, in 2019 there were 42 and in 2020 there were 63 fatal crashes.

“That’s way, way too many fatalities and too many lives lost and too many families that now have broken homes,” Freeman said.

He said one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement is informing next-of-kin of a fatal crash.

“Each one of us, one of our primary jobs is to notify a family when one of their loved ones is killed. And I can speak for myself, I got a career of almost 23 years. By far doing a death notification is one of the hardest jobs I have.”

Dayton Police Sgt. Gordon Cairns said people are driving too fast.

“We’ve seen the speeds just increase drastically this last year,” he said. “So with the drastic speed increase along with the busy roadways, in general, we get an increase of these crashes and we are just seeing the speeds are just going higher and higher.”

The law enforcement officers said it’s not uncommon now to cite drivers who are traveling 80, 90 and 100 miles per hour.

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