Representatives from multiple local organizations discussed a plan aimed at reducing fatal and serious injury crashes in Champaign County during a meeting last week.
The involved parties initially met in February to discuss a road safety plan for Champaign County. When the plan is completed, it is expected to provide a framework to address and prevent fatal and serious injury crashes in the region.
According to information provided at the meeting, nationally, over 30,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes annually and in Ohio, this number averages 1,000 per year.
Last Wednesday, the discussion of addressing critical factors that contribute to crashes continued as those in attendance were broken into groups to discuss how to solve challenges involving young drivers, seat belt use, alcohol impairment and intersection crashes. Each of the four groups reviewed data and provided potential actions to lower the number of crashes related to these areas.
Champaign County engineer Stephen McCall started working on putting a safety plan together before enlisting the assistance of other local stakeholders.
“I’ve been working on putting together a plan and noticed that it was only for my county roads and wanted to include the state routes and the municipalities in this discussion so I put together this group and asked for them to participate in it,” McCall said. “Everybody’s wanting to see the number of crashes go down and felt that this was a great way of doing that.”
McCall said these kind of safety plans have been worked on at the national level and state agencies like the Ohio Department of Transportation have been encouraged to look at local counties.
“We’re seeing a lot more of the safety funds start to trickle down to the county level,” McCall said. “One of the ways to obtain that money and to look to identify those projects is through a plan like this and so that’s the main goal is to reduce the number of crashes and whether or not it’s through the educational side or identifying infrastructure improvements we really want to be able to identify those.”
A wide array of people from county government, local law enforcement and other local entities were in attendance for the meeting.
“We tried to include everybody that we could as far as having the LUC (Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission) involved, having ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) involved, having the different municipalities, we invited the schools to be involved with the young driver topic that we’ve been discussing,” McCall said. “The enforcement is very important and it’s great to have a lot of different views coming from those different disciplines and everybody’s working towards that same goal of having a safe community and safe transportation.”
Last week’s meeting was the last time the group was scheduled to meet prior to the development of the actual safety plan. McCall said a report containing recommendations, identifying locations in the county that need further studying, and opportunities the county can pursue for grant funding.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777.