Winter driving creates dangerous situations

Heather Anuta

When it comes to winter driving, snow isn’t the only thing to be cautious of on the road. People are attending more parties and usually drink while celebrating.

Portage County Safer Communities is putting a big emphasis on their “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” program to stress the importance of not driving drunk.

Safer Communities Grand Administrator Lynette Blasiman says it is proven that there are increased automobile injuries and fatalities around the holidays.

“We want people to plan ahead and get a drunk driver,” Blasiman says.

Blasiman says the program doesn’t just want to catch people driving drunk, but to prevent it in the first place.

“The real goal is not to write tickets and arrest people,” she says. “What we really want to do is educate the public ahead of time, prepare them, teach them, discourage drunk driving because really good success comes from prevention.”

To help get the word out, Safer Communities is turning to popular businesses throughout the county. Guidos Pizza is attaching tags to their pizza boxes reminding residents of Portage Country if they drink and drive they will be arrested.

In 2009, there were ten fatalities in automobile accidents in Portage County. Two of them were drug and alcohol related. In 2010, there have been 16 fatalities, with four of them being drug and alcohol related.

Kent State University Associate Director of Public Safety Dan FitzPatrick says to keep an open eye on the roads during the holiday season.

“Keep a safe distance from other cars,” he says. “Anticipate what other drivers are going to do and alert police if you suspect a driver is drunk.”