BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT -- Properly yielding the right-of-way can keep a driver out of a crash. That's the word the Ohio State Highway Patrol is trying to get out to the public, after the 2013 totals were released showing that failure to yield was the second-highest crash- causing violation last year in Ohio. That is, motorists running red lights or stop signs, or failing to yield to traffic resulted in 43,926 traffic crashes in the state, 107 of those crashes in Van Wert County alone.

“Drivers are urged to pay close attention to stop signs and signals when traversing Ohio’s roadways,” said Lt. Les Brode, Ohio State Highway Patrol Van Wert Post Commander. “They need to ensure the intersection is clear before entering it.”

Last year's accident totals showed only 22 failure to yield crash in Paulding County, 56 in Putnam, 121 in Auglaize, 124 in Mercer, and 626 in Allen County.

These crashes are often deadly, with 169 people losing their lives in a failure to yield crash in 2013, and another 26,185 people injured. The state's youngest drivers are especialy guilty of being careless in such cases. The statistics show that in 31 percent of the crashes, the responsible driver was between the ages of 16-25, nearly twice as high of a rate than drivers 26-35 who were responsible in 16 percent of the failure to yield crashes.

Brode warned that drivers can avoid failure to yield crashes by: slowing down and taking their time, looking both ways before entering an intersection, signaling every turn and lane change, making a complete stop at stop lights and stop signs, and by yielding to other drivers and being courteous.