COLUMBUS - As Americans prepare to fete the end of summer this Labor Day weekend, authorities are cautioning people against driving while impaired.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio is on pace to establish a record low in traffic fatalities in 2013. Ohio's previous record low occurred in 2011, when 1,014 people were killed in traffic-related crashes.
For the 2012 Labor Day holiday reporting period of Aug.31 through Sept. 3, 14 died on Ohio's roadways; five of those deaths involved an impaired driver, according to the patrol.
"With everyone's commitment to ensuring a safe Labor Day weekend, there is no reason why Ohio can't achieve fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities in 2013," said Col. Paul A. Pride, patrol superintendent.
According to the patrol, that have been 568 confirmed deaths and an additional 35 provisional unconfirmed deaths, for a total "worst-case scenario" of 603 traffic deaths during the first two-thirds of the year.
By comparison, during the same time period in 2011, there had been 649 people killed in traffic-related crashes.
According to AAA, nearly 5.9 million people from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin expect to travel 50 miles or more this holiday weekend.