Delaware County health and law-enforcement officials say it was no accident they chose Orange Township to host a seat belt-awareness event May 25.
Lt. Marcus Pirrone of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said it was "fitting" Orange Township Hall hosted Delaware County's Click it or Ticket campaign kickoff event for 2017. He said in recent years the patrol has responded to more incidents in Orange Township than any other township in the county.
"It's a township in a county in a state in a country where everybody should be wearing their seat belts," he said. "They save lives."
Jackie Bain, educator with the Delaware General Health District, said reaching Orange Township residents about the importance of seat belts is especially important because of how much traffic travels through the township.
"When you look at the crash statistics for the county, this is the hotbed of crashes," she said.
Bain said about 300 crashes have occurred in the township in the last three years. She said drivers just need to look to the sides of the roadways in the township to see why seat belts are so important.
"A seat belt becomes a really big deal when you flip over in a ditch or you're going to be hitting something like a telephone pole," she said.
Bain said the increasing population in the township likely means no significant decrease in the number of crashes in coming years.
Pirrone said the growing county saw a record number of traffic fatalities in 2016. According to patrol records, 21 crashes led to at least one death last year.
"Of them, 50 percent of the 24 people weren't wearing seat belts," he said. "You just wonder if those people were wearing seat belts, where we would be at."
Pirrone said law-enforcement officials -- probably the people most familiar with the results of crashes -- are baffled by the failure of many people to spare a few seconds to take potentially lifesaving action.
"You just sit and scratch your head," he said.
Health and law-enforcement officials brought stickers, yard signs and a seat-belt simulator to Orange Township Hall last week. Township spokeswoman Amanda Sheterom said it was the first time the township has hosted a Click it or Ticket kickoff event.