SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — State troopers’ arrests of impaired drivers in Ashtabula County stayed about the same last year while crashes caused by operators under the influence dipped significantly, according to statistics released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Troopers in the county cited 399 drivers for OVI offenses in 2017, compared to 396 the year before, Lt. Bret Henderson, commander of the OHP’s post based in Saybrook Township, said Monday. “We had a good year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the county’s OHP post investigated 136 crashes where impaired driving was a factor, an estimated 10 percent drop compared to 2016, Henderson said.

Five deaths attributed to impaired driving occurred in Ashtabula County last year, down from eight in 2016, according to state statistics. In total, troopers investigated 16 fatal crashes in 2017, compared to 15 the previous year.

Henderson credited the improved 2017 numbers to a number of factors.

“There’s an education part and an enforcement part,” he said.

The post was able to add a couple additional troopers last year, Henderson said.

“We have upwards of 16 troopers,” he said. “We have a few more bodies, and that does make a difference.”

OVI-related arrests occurred all over the county, and not just on Interstate 90 and Route 11, Henderson said. The most activity occurred in late spring, summer and early fall because when weather calms down more people are traveling, he said.

Bad weather that kicked off 2018 has seen a reduced level of arrest activity compared to this time last year, Henderson said.

“It’s a little below,” he said. “I attribute it to January’s weather.”

Some 14,389 OVI-related crashes were handled by the OHP posts across Ohio last year, a slight drop from 14,508 crashes in 2016. Last year’s crashes resulted in 397 deaths and 8,803 injuries, according to a recently-released report.

State-wide, crashes investigated by state troopers last year resulted in 397 deaths and 8,803 injuries.w

Other facts from OHP’s 2017 report: 


• Drivers ages 21-39 were at fault in 52 percent of the crashes, while underage drivers (age 15-20) were at the wheel in 6 percent of the incidents

• Males were at fault in 71 percent of OVI-related crashes

• The leading cause of crashes was failure to control (40 percent of cases)

• OVI-related crashes resulted in 397 deaths, or 34 percent of all fatal crashes in Ohio last year (down from 37 percent in 2016) 


• Troopers across the state issued 27,343 citations for operating a motor vehicle under the influence, an 8 percent jump compared to 2016. Over the past five years, the number of citations have averaged more than 25,000.

• Male drivers were issued 73 percent of all tickets.

• The majority of citations (59 percent) were issued between midnight and 4 a.m.

• More than half (54 percent) of citations were handed out between 5 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Sunday.

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