LIMA — It’s in drivers’ best interest to closely follow traffic laws when traveling the west side of Lima and Allen County over the next two weeks. Law enforcement leaders announced Friday they’re targeting bad driving behaviors, in hopes they’ll deter serious injury crashes in the future.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Allen County Sheriff’s Office and Lima Police Department will increase their enforcement, looking for speeding, failure to yield, seat belt and distracted driving offenses. They’ll focus on areas including North Cable Road, Elida Road, Allentown Road and Market Street starting Sunday and running through Saturday, Aug. 29.
“We’ve looked at crash data. We’ve also fielded citizen complaints about driving behaviors in the area,” said Lt. Tim Grigsby, Lima post commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “Coupled with all these factors, we feel we need to pay a little more attention to this area before anything really, really bad happens.”
So far in 2020, there have been seven deaths from traffic crashes in Allen County, compared to nine all year in 2019. The three agencies decided to work together to address the concerns. One of those fatal crashes was on North Cable Road.
“We’re making the public announcement to make people aware of this because our goal is not to see how many tickets we can write,” Lima Police Department Chief Kevin Martin said. “Our goal is to get people to drive more safely.”
The extra enforcement will be a mix of paying overtime through federal grants and redirecting regular patrols toward the targeted area for the three agencies. Officers receive plenty of public feedback about dangerous driving habits on the west side of Lima.
The enforcement coincides with the return of students to the University of Northwestern Ohio over the coming weeks, with the College of Applied Technologies returning to classes Aug. 24.
“As students return to campus each year, we continually urge our students to be good stewards of the communities in which they live,” according to a statement by the UNOH administration Friday. “Part of that is being a respectful driver and following all traffic laws within the community. All new, incoming students take a First Year Experience course, and one of the topics discussed in that course focuses on responsible driving.”
Martin clarified the incoming students aren’t the sole focus of the enforcement blitz.
“I have to say that although UNOH students may be part of the problem, I do not believe with the number of complaints we’ve seen, they’re not the sole problem,” he said.
Ultimately, the goal is creating safer roadways for everyone.
“The goal here is not to be petty fault-finders,” Grigsby said. “It’s to look for aggressive, reckless and dangerous driving behavior and address those issues. That’s what this is for.”