Clermont Health District receives federal grant

October 10th, 2009    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Community

Clermont County Health Commissioner Marty Lambert has announced that the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Traffic Safety Office has awarded $49,500 in federal traffic safety funding to the Clermont County General Health District.

This grant has been received in Clermont County for several years and is the funding source for the Safe Communities program.

“Partnerships are critical to the long-term success of any safety effort and we are committed to working with law enforcement and many other local partners to address traffic safety concerns in Clermont County,” said Lambert. “These funds will help ensure that we can dedicate time and personnel to these efforts.”

Safe Communities has identified several priority areas for traffic safety in Clermont County.

The program focuses specifically on: 1. Increasing the seat belt usage, 2. General public awareness about traffic safety issues, 3. Motorcycle safety and 4. Teen driving issues.

Safe Communities plans many events and activities throughout the year to support law enforcement efforts, such as an annual "Mocktails" event to discourage drinking and driving.

"We work with many groups, schools, and agencies to promote traffic safety and reduce fatalities on the roadway" said Safe Communities Coordinator Martha Enriquez. "There are lots of opportunities for presentations, assemblies and public displays to encourage safety."

The funds are passed through OTSO from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the efforts of safety partners statewide. There are approximately 30 counties in Ohio that receive similar funding.

Safe Communities also recently announced that the seat belt rate in Clermont County is up to 74.6 percent. This is an increase from 71 percent a year ago.

A comprehensive seat belt survey is done twice a year to monitor 19 specific sites in Clermont County. Data is gathered regarding who is belted by age and gender of driver and type of vehicle.

This data assists in planning outreach efforts. For example, the September 2008 survey showed that the seat belt usage in the northwestern part of Clermont County was higher than in the southeastern part. We also learned that those driving pick up trucks are less likely to buckle up.

"This information helps guide our educational efforts," Enriquez said.

Although one fatality is one too many, Clermont County, along with most of Ohio, has had a decrease in fatal crashes. From January - September 2009, there have been six crashes resulting in seven deaths. During the same time frame in 2008, there were 16 crashes resulting in 20 deaths.

"Alcohol-related crashes are also on a downtrend trend in Ohio. Clermont County dropped from 289 total alcohol-related crashes in 2004 to 227 in 2008. We hope this trend continues and more lives are spared on our roadways," Enriquez said.

For more information about Clermont County Safe Communities, contact coordinator Martha Enriquez at (513) 735-8409 or menriquez@co.clermont.oh.us.
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