The Enquirer’s Mark Wert reports that traffic tickets, including operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), are down 12 percent in Southwest Ohio.
Mason, however, was one of the few exceptions of communities that saw a rise in traffic offenses.
Mason’s Municipal Court, which covers the Warren County city and Deerfield Township, had 451 OVI cases in 2010, an increase of 43 percent from 2006. Mason police issued 2,979 traffic warnings in 2010, an increase of just over 50 percent.
Increasing population may be one reason for the rise, said Mason Police Chief Ron Farrell.
“For us, traffic enforcement is tied to accidents,” Farrell said.
Mason has seen a lot of road construction in recent years and traffic enforcement may have been heightened to keep construction crews and motorists safe. For example, construction on one of the city’s major thoroughfares, Western Row Road, may have helped boost both traffic tickets and warnings in 2010, Farrell said.
Why are tickets down elsewhere? Wert examines the factors:
One reason experts cite is that police agencies, dealing with recession-induced budget cuts, may have fewer officers and less of a focus on traffic enforcement.
In addition, people may be changing behaviors regarding drinking and driving, said Capt. Gary Lee, the Cincinnati Police Department’s patrol commander.
The drop in non-OVI tickets was steepest in Butler and Clermont counties, the Enquirer analysis reveals. The filings covered Common Pleas, Juvenile, Municipal and Mayor’s courts in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties. Statewide, non-OVI cases fell 14 percent from 2006 to 2010, when 1.2 million tickets handed out.
OVI cases in the state’s courts dropped 20 percent during the same period, to 58,279 in 2010. That drop was mirrored in (most) counties and municipalities across Southwest Ohio.
Among other reasons cited include more effective campaigns against drunk driving and well-publicized OVI checkpoints.
Economic hardships may also explain the drop in traffic tickets in Ohio: People are driving less. As Wert reports, the miles logged by Ohioans on urban and rural highways fell 4.5 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to Federal Highway Administration traffic counts.
For a more detailed analysis of the decline in traffic tickets, read Wert’s complete story at cincinnati.com.
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