Dayton police gear up for Memorial Day, 100 deadliest days of summer

Dayton police Sgt. Gordon Cairns talks to the press about summertime driving.  JIM NOELKER / STAFF

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Dayton police Sgt. Gordon Cairns talks to the press about summertime driving. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

As Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer, Dayton police are focusing on reducing crashes and keeping roads safe.

Officers are hoping this weekend will mark the second straight year the city hasn’t had any fatal crashes over the Memorial Day weekend, Dayton Police Department Traffic Services Unit Supervisor Sgt. Gordon Cairns said.

“We will be out doing additional enforcement, just reminding people to watch your speed and watch your distracted driving,” he said. “We’re not just looking to give citations. We’re looking to remind and educate the driving public.”

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With more people expected to travel during the weekend, Cairns reminded motorists to give themselves enough time to get where they’re going and watch out for heavy traffic on the highway and in construction areas.

“Give yourself plenty of time,” he said. “A lot of times we find ourselves in speeding incidents because we didn’t give ourselves enough time to get where we’re going.”

In addition to the extra patrols this weekend, there will also be an OVI checkpoint Sunday on Gettysburg Avenue.

Anyone who plans to celebrate the holiday weekend by drinking alcohol should plan ahead to make sure they have a safe and sober ride home. Any person or business hosting parties or events should make sure their guests and patrons are able to get home safely if they’ve been drinking.

“Just don’t let them leave and drive away,” Cairns said. “Take care of your friends and customers.”

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Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of summer. The period continues through Labor Day weekend and marks an increased time for crashes, especially among teen drivers.

With school out for the summer, more teen and younger drivers are on the roads, Cairns explained.

Two of the biggest issues area driving schools see in teen drivers are learning to brake in time and taking corners too fast, he added.

“Be extra vigilant in your driver safety,” Cairns said. “Put down the cell phone, stop the distractions and pay attention.”

The Dayton Police Department is also in the middle of the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign, which reminds motorists and passengers to wear seat belts.

Traditionally, teens are less likely than older drivers to wear a seat belt, Cairns said.

He also stressed the importance of all motorists to keep an eye out for motorcyclists as summer-like weather continues.

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A 61-year-old Miamisburg man died earlier this week in Harrison Twp. after his motorcycle was involved in a crash with a bucket truck.

“We want to remind not only the motorcyclists but the drivers as well to be looking for those motorcycles,” Cairns said. “They might not see you or you might see them.”

While helmets are not required, they’re strongly recommended and can save a motorcyclist’s life, he added.

So far this year crashes are down in Dayton, but fatal crash are up, Cairns said. Last year, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there were 1,255 crashes in the city.

“Obviously, we would like to see zero fatal crashes and zero crashes altogether,” he said. “We understand that accidents do happen, but ultimately we want to see a reduction in those fatal crashes.”

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