Ohio State Highway Patrol plans crackdown this weekend as it joins the I-75 …

trooper-medina-traffic-stop-040606.jpgThe Ohio State Highway Patrol will take part in a crackdown this weekend aimed at improving safety along Interstate 75 in Ohio and five other states. 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Highway Patrol will join with law enforcement from five other states in a crackdown this weekend aimed at reducing crash fatalities along Interstate 75.

The I-75 Challenge is an effort to boost patrol visibility along the highway, which runs nearly 1,800 miles from northern Michigan to southern Florida. Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky also are joining in the effort.

In Ohio, state troopers will focus on seat belt usage, aggressive driving and speeding and impaired driving violations, the patrol said.

The crackdown will begin Friday and continue through Sunday.

The patrol, in a statement, said traffic crashes kill more than 33,000 people a year nationally. More than half of those killed in 2011 were not wearing seat belts, about 9,900 deaths were related to impaired-driving crashes and nearly 10,000 deaths were from speeding-related crashes.

“One thing we know is that traffic crashes are preventable,” said Col. Paul Pride, Ohio’s highway patrol superintendent. “We want to educate the motoring public to make better decisions – and maybe even change their driving behaviors – to reduce crashes and fatalities.”