Harvest season Safety Traffic Safety Network topic

SIDNEY — Union County OSU Extension Educator Wayne Dellinger and Ohio Farm Bureau Organization Director for Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby Counties Jill Smith were the featured presenters at the quarterly meeting of the Community Traffic Safety Network of Shelby County. That meeting was hosted by Sidney Police Chief Will Balling and held at the Sidney Police Department.

The duo discussed Ohio Agriculture Roadway Safety. Using a powerpoint presentation, Dellinger shared that while ag-related fatalities have declined from a high of 22 in 2010 to just six in 2016, the number of accidents has increased as has the number of injuries.

“While we are fortunate that the number of ag-related fatalities has continued to trend downward,” Dellinger told the group, “the number of accidents is trending upward at an alarming rate, as has the number of injuries and the amount of property damage. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the accidents occur during the spring planting season and the fall harvest season.”

“Between 2007 and 2016, there were 128 ag-related fatalities,” Dellinger stated. “Of those, over half (66) involved a tractor. Most of those were rollover accidents.”

Other fatalities involved all-terrain vehicles (eight), grain handling/storage (10), corn pickers (two), farm trucks (three), skid-loaders/forklifts (four), equipment, machinery and wagons (12), and other causes (23). Not all of the accident deaths occurred on Ohio’s roadways.

One of the factors that is believed to have helped reduce accidents is the slow moving vehicle sign. “The sign was actually developed at Ohio State,” Dellinger said. “Its use has now spread across the country.”

Dellinger and Smith answered a number of questions at the conclusion of the presentation. The meeting then continued with Sidney’s Public Works Director/Assistant City Manager Gary Clough providing a road construction report for Sidney.

Clough reported that the bids were opened for the Fair Road Bridge over the CSX Railroad on Oct. 18. Construction will occur in 2019.

Clough also reported that the plans, scheduling and estimates for the replacement of the Park Street Bridge over the CSX Railroad are due to ODOT in mid-November. He also reported that the plans for the reconstruction of state Route 47 from Fourth Avenue to Walnut Avenue have been submitted to ODOT.

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) were unable to be present because the meeting date conflicted with the annual visit of ODOT Director Jerry Wray to District 7 Headquarters. Similarly, Shelby County Engineer Bob Geuy was unable to attend as he was attending a meeting out of town.

Sidney Police Chief Will Balling provided a report of the department’s activities through the end of the first three quarters of the year. Balling reported that thus far, there have been no fatalities in the City of Sidney, and that accidents are up slightly over last year with 398 reported this year compared to 391 over the same period in 2017.

OVI arrests are up 20 percent over the same period in 2017. Citations are up about 24 percent, with citations for no operator’s license or driving under suspension up 9 percent. Traffic stops were also reported to be up with 5,473 stops in 2018 compared to 4,911 in 2017. Calls for service have also increased, with 23,749 thus far this year compared to 23,034 over the same period last year.

Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP) Sergeant Ross Reed provided the quarterly report for the Piqua Post. Troopers from the Piqua Post serve Shelby, Miami and Darke counties.

Reed reported that thus far, there have been six fatalities in Shelby County. Two of those fatalities involved impaired driving.

Reed also reported that enforcement stops have increased this year, with 2,968 for the first three quarters of the year, compared to 2,274 for the same period last year. Thus far, OSP has investigated 169 accidents in Shelby County compared to 160 over the same period last year.

Citations in Shelby County for driving under suspension are up 45 percent over the same period last year. Seat belt violations are up 33 percent, and OVI arrests are up 11 percent.

Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones provided a report for his department. Fire loss within the corporation thus far this year has totaled $1,791,050 compared to $613,790 last year.

The department has responded to 758 (city, township and mutual aid) fire calls so far this year, compared to 865 in 2017 and 688 in 2016. The department has responded to 2,284 calls for emergency medical services. That compares to 2,381 in 2017 and 2,318 in 2016.

There was a brief discussion of whether to hold a mock crash this year, or to wait until 2020. There was consensus to hold a mock crash this year if it could be worked into the respective schedules for the schools.

“We should hold one for the entire county,” Botkins Police Chief Wayne Glass stated. “I don’t care if it’s in Sidney, in Anna, at Fairlawn, but there should be just one.”

Mike Barhorst, who chairs the committee, said that he would contact the schools to see if a county-wide mock crash could be scheduled this year.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held on Jan. 15. It will be hosted by Municipal Court Judge Duane Goettemoeller.