(Toledo News Now) - As of the end of June, 2012 has been a deadlier year for traffic accidents than 2011.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said 2011 was a record low for traffic fatalities.
"Last year was an extremely good year. The guys worked hard. The law enforcement officers were out in the area putting out a lot of effort," said Lt. William Bowers.
Bowers said troopers have been doing the same this year, but so far, the number of traffic fatalities has risen again. It has risen by eight percent across the state, but the percentages are higher in northwest Ohio.
Lucas and Fulton County, including highways and municipalities, have had 18 traffic fatalities this year, with 20 people killed. The number is up from 13 at this time last year, a 38.5% increase. 2010 also saw 18 traffic fatalities.
Bowers said multiple factors could have impacted the increased numbers.
"The increased traffic. People are traveling a little bit more. Maybe some of it has to do with the increase of drinking and driving," Bowers said.
Wood County has seen a much larger increase.
Thirteen people were killed on highways so far this year, including four from the wrong-way crash involving Bowling Green State University students.
At this time last year, there were five fatalities, a 160 percent increase. In 2010, there were seven fatalities.
"Unfortunately it's not always something you can prevent, but we're working hard to do so," Bowers said.
OHP has stepped up methods they saw work last years. They increased the number of troopers on patrol and are holding more OVI checkpoints. The Toledo post has seen a 35 percent increase in OVI arrests this year.
Bowers said beating last year's record low will not be easy.
"I think it's going to be very difficult, but we're up to the challenge. We're going to work hard at it," he said.
Bowers said he hopes increased efforts will help make the second of the year less tragic than the first.
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