Category Archives: Safe Communities

Thanksgiving Traffic Safety

Safe Communities of Wood County is joining in a national effort to reach out to all Thanksgiving travelers with one important message: buckle up. Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, putting more people on the road, and unfortunately increasing the likelihood of crashes. Each year in our country, tens of thousands of passenger vehicle occupants die in motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone. It’s a sad statistic, but even sadder is that many of those deaths could have been prevented with one simple click of a seat belt.

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent. In 2013, approximately 12,584 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone involved in crashes that year had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,800 lives may have been saved.

“More than half the drivers and passengers being killed in crashes aren’t wearing seat belts. That’s a major problem,” said Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator. In 2013, a total of 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes, and almost half (49%) of those occupants were not buckled up. During Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 (6 p.m. Wednesday, November 27, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, December 2), a disturbing 58 percent (6 out of 10) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. At night, the statistic was even worse; 64 percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled.

Younger drivers are the most likely to be unbuckled in a fatal crash. In 2013, among passenger vehicle occupant fatalities where restraint use was known, the age groups 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 had the highest percentage (55%) of occupants killed who were un-restrained.

NHTSA data also reveals that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash. Fifty-four percent of the males killed in crashes in 2013 were not buckled up, as compared to 41 percent for females. Right now, the overall seat belt use rate in the United States is 87 percent, which is a major increase over the 79-percent use rate in 2003, but there is still room for further gains.

“For those people who already buckle up every time: Thank you,” said Ms. Wiechman “For them, this campaign serves as a reminder. But for those people who still don’t buckle up for whatever reason, I want to say this: buckling your seat belt is one of the simplest, safest things you’ll ever do.”

This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, make sure your seat belt is buckled before you start any road trip—whether it’s one mile or a thousand.

For More Information:

  • Traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit
  • Jerrod Savidge, 419-352-2481
  • Safe Communities Coordinator, Sandy Wiechman

419-372-9353 or

Mock Crash Educates BGSU Community

Friday, October 24, 2015 – Mock OVI Car Crash

This exercise was a realistic scene of a crash involving an intoxicated driver. Police departments, fire/EMS, and an air ambulance responded as they do to an actual real life emergency.  The scenario involved two cars who “collide” as a result of an intoxicated driver. This mock demonstration educated BGSU students on the dangers of drinking and driving and how it affects lives.

Participating agencies:

  • BGSU Police
  • Bowling Green Police Department
  • Bowling Green Fire and EMS
  • Wood County Safe Communities Coalition members
  • Hanneman Funeral Home
  • Life Flight (Coordinated by BG Fire/EMS)
  • BG Towing and Recovery
  • Wood County Hospital

For More Information:
Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator | 419.372.9353

Halloween Traffic Safety Mobilization

Safe Communities of Wood County announced today that the annual safe driving  Halloween National Mobilization is October 25-November 1, 2015.

Halloween means parties, and parties can encourage alcohol consumption. Because of this, Safe Communities of Wood County is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for The Halloween National Mobilization. “Drinking and driving is deadly, it is illegal, and it will get you pulled over and arrested this Halloween,” said Safe Communities Coordinator, Sandy Wiechman. “If you want to stay safe and out of jail this Halloween, make a plan to get home without driving if you’ve been drinking. Planning for a safe ride home needs to be part of everyone’s Halloween party preparations.” Safe Communities of Wood County recommends that residents follow these tips to help ensure their own safety, and the safety of others this Halloween:

* Designate a sober driver, take public transportation, a car service, or a call a sober friend of family member to get you home if you’ve been drinking.

* If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

Besides the dangers of driving under the influence, drunk driving is a crime. Offenders can face jail time, the loss of a driver’s license, and pay around $10,000 due to higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off work.

Halloween is a fun event that encompasses the entire county, and drunk driving effects not only other drivers, but pedestrians as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reports that October 31 is traditionally one of the most dangerous nights of the year, because of the deadly combination of alcohol and increased pedestrian traffic. In Wood County last year, there were no crashes involving pedestrians on Halloween. This trend is something Safe Communities of Wood County would like to replicate. Do your part this Halloween by not driving impaired and, as a driver or pedestrian, remain alert for drunk drivers and report any suspicious behavior to local law enforcement.

Always remember to drive sober or get pulled over!

For More Information:

Lt. Jerrod Savidge, 419-352-2481
Safe Communities Coordinator, Sandy Wiechman
419-372-9353 or

Teen Driver Safety Week

Safe Communities of Wood County announced today that there have been 14 fatal crashes in Wood County, compared to 8 at this time last year. This is an increase of 6 crashes to date.

October 18-24, 2015 is National Teen Driver Safety Awareness Week. “The fatal crash rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is four times higher than for drivers ages 25 to 69”, Safe Communities Coordinator Sandy Wiechman said. “We are hoping that Teen Driver Safety Week gets the word out to parents of teens, that it is never too early to start the discussion with their young driver about distracted and impaired driving”. We encourage parents to establish a safety contract with their teens in regards to distracted and impaired driving. Materials for a safety contract can be found at or

In Wood County last year, in 72.6% of crashes involving teens between 15-19 years of age, the teen driver was found to be in error. It is important that parents discuss the danger of the roadways with young drivers, and emphasize the importance of not driving distracted or impaired. Teens are encouraged to report any suspicious activity they see on the roads to local law enforcement agencies.

For More Information:

  • Jerrod Savidge, 419-352-2481
  • Safe Communities Coordinator, Sandy Wiechman
  • 419-372-9353 or

Child Passenger Safety Seat Awareness Week


September 13-192015 is Child Passenger Safety Seat Awareness week. In Wood County, there were no fatalities involving children under the age of 13 in calendar year 2014. Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers. Car seats are most effective when installed properly in your vehicle and used correctly.

It is essential for parents to make sure their child safety equipment in their vehicles is current with state and federal regulations and is installed properly. Residents of Wood County are encouraged to contact either Wood County Hospital or Safe Kids of Greater Toledo to schedule a car seat inspection.

On Saturday, September 19, 2015, Thayer Chevrolet is hosting a Child Safety Seat Checkup Event starting at 10:00 am. Call Safe Kids of Greater Toledo at 419-219-5993 to schedule an appointment. You can also call Wood County Hospital Obstetrics Department at 419-354-8900 to schedule an appointment at any time.

For More Information:

  • Jerrod Savidge, 419-352-2481
  • Safe Communities Coordinator, Sandy Wiechman
    419-372-9353 or