BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s St. Clairsville Post has already responded to many tragedies on the roads this year.

They don’t want to see any more over the New Year’s holiday weekend.

For the patrol, the official holiday reporting period is 12:01 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30 through midnight on Monday, Jan. 2.

They say it’s been a challenging year on the highways.

“This year alone, we had four fatal crashes in Belmont County and five fatal crashes in Monroe County in which six people were killed,” said Lt. Maurice Waddell, post commander. “Of those crashes, 66% were OVI (operating a vehicle while impaired) related, and 50% were not using seat belts.”

He said OVI refers to either alcohol or drug impairment, and he noted that drug impairment is being seen a lot lately. 

Lt. Waddell urges anyone going out over the New Year’s holiday to make responsible choices.

“You could choose a designated driver, call a cab or arrange for a ride share, or just stay where you are overnight instead of going back out while impaired,” he said. 

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He said the important thing is to make good decisions even before you go out, so you already have safe plans in place.