The number of traffic tickets dropped across the state last year, and it’s probably not because Ohioans became better drivers.
In the tough economy, many local and state law enforcement agencies have made staffing cuts, resulting in fewer patrols on the streets.
The Dayton Daily News reported Monday that a study of Ohio Supreme Court data shows traffic cases had decreased by 7.2 percent statewide and by nearly 13 percent in an eight-county area from Clark to Butler.
Drunken driving cases dropped 6.1 percent statewide in 2009 from 2008, with a 13.1 percent decline in southwestern Ohio.
“There hasn’t been an outbreak of sobriety, nor good, cautious, courteous driving out there,” said Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association. “Many sheriff’s offices throughout the state of Ohio … have laid people off. Therefore, we have not been able to have the number of units we usually have on the road to enforce those kinds of issues.”
Also, the state highway patrol has been focusing more on patrols of high-crash areas and has been handling more felony crime cases.
Ohio Department of Transportation studies show people drove more miles in 2009 than 2008, refuting a suggestion that people are driving less in bad economic times.
Ric Oxende, lobbyist for the Ohio Conference of AAA clubs, said other factors are involved, but the obvious one is staffing cuts.
“So if there’s fewer officers, maybe those officers have been shifted to other duties than just traffic,” he said.
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