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[Watch coverage from 2021 on traffic crashes along state highways in the player above.]

(WJW) — Several local communities without any fatal traffic crashes during a recent five-year period have been cited as an example of a future with zero roadway deaths, which is the goal of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Portions of interstates that pass through Cleveland and Cincinnati were some of Ohio’s most dangerous highways in the last five years, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol data. Each saw nearly 9,000 crashes between 2018 and 2023.

Nearly 43,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2021, according to a February report from the transportation department.

“The status quo is unacceptable, and it is preventable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is quoted in the report. “We know it’s preventable because bold cities in the United States, and countries abroad, have achieved tremendous reductions in roadway deaths.”

Among the bigger U.S. cities, which have more than 50,000 residents, Lakewood has one of the lowest fatality rates nationwide, according to the report. Its population in 2020 was nearly 50,500 and it reported two fatal crashes between 2016 and 2020, a fatality rate of 0.79 per 100,000 residents.

Among the smaller U.S. cities, which have between 5,000 residents and 50,000 residents, Avon Lake is the safest, according to the federal data. It had a single fatal crash in those five years. With a population of 25,206, that’s also a rate of 0.79 per 100,000 residents.

Elsewhere in Ohio, Moraine, a smaller city of nearly 6,400 in Montgomery County, is among the department’s top 25 small cities with the highest fatality rates in the nation. It reported 14 traffic deaths between 2016 and 2020, putting its fatality rate at 43.8 per 100,000 residents.

But locally, most traffic crashes with fatalities or serious injuries between 2013 and 2017 happened on locally maintained roads, and often in cities, according to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s 2019 traffic safety report.

The report analyzed several rising trends in traffic fatalities between 2011 and 2017, namely: speed (up 7%); vehicles leaving their road or lane (up 14%); pedestrian deaths (up 36%); and distracted driving (up 50%).

That safety improvement plan aims to reduce the five-year rolling average numbers of fatal crashes from 131 in 2017 to 123 in 2023 and serious injury crashes from 1,245 in 2017 to 1,172 in 2023.

“By taking the lead to inform and coordinate the efforts of its safety partners in government and other agencies, NOACA intends to build a strong team committed to working hard to prevent fatalities and serious injuries,” reads the report. “Reaching an ultimate goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries may seem like an impossible goal, but through the sustained effort and steady resolve of all, the lives of travelers on our region’s highways will be saved.”

21 cities had no traffic deaths from 2016-2020

Below are the Northeast Ohio cities that went at least one year without a fatal crash between 2016 and 2020, according to the transportation department’s report. About 14% of all small cities nationwide — cities with populations between 5,000 people and 50,000 people — did not report any roadway fatalities in that time, including 21 communities in Northeast Ohio (highlighted in bold).

Ashland County

Ashland (population 19,225): Five years

Ashtabula County

Ashtabula (population 17,975): Two years

Conneaut (population 12,318): One year

Geneva (population 5,924): Four years

Columbiana County

Columbiana (population 6,559): Three years

East Liverpool (population 9,958): Five years

Salem (population 11,915): Five years

Cuyahoga County

Bay Village (population 16,163): Five years

Bedford Heights (population 11,020): Four years

Berea (population 18,545): Three years

Brecksville (population 13,635): Four years

Broadview Heights (population 19,936): Three years

Brooklyn (population 11,359): Three years

Brook Park (population 18,595): Two years

Fairview Park (population 17,291): Five years

Garfield Heights (population 29,781): Two years

Highland Heights (population 8,719): Four years

Independence (population 7,584): Two years

Lakewood (population 50,942): Three years

Lyndhurst (population 14,050): Three years

Maple Heights (population 23,701): Three years

Mayfield Heights (population 20,351): Four years

Middleburg Heights (population 16,004): Two years

North Olmsted (population 32,442): Two years

North Royalton (population 31,322): Two years

Richmond Heights (population 10,801): Three years

Olmsted Falls (population 8,582): Four years

Parma (population 81,146): One year

Parma Heights (population 20,863): Four years

Richmond Heights (population 10,801): Three years

Rocky River (population 21,755): Two years

Pepper Pike (population 6,796): Five years

Seven Hills (population 11,720): Five years

Shaker Heights (population 29,439): Two years

Solon (population 24,262): Two years

South Euclid (population 21,883): Four years

Strongsville (population 46,491): One year

University Heights (population 13,914): Four years

Warrensville Heights (population 13,789): One year

Westlake (population 34,228): One year

Erie County

Huron (population 6,922): Two years

Sandusky (population 25,095): One year

Geauga County

Chardon (population 5,242): Four years

Huron County

Bellevue (population 8,249): Three years

Norwalk (population 17,068): Two years

Willard (population 6,197): Four years

Lake County

Eastlake (population 17,670): Three years

Kirtland (population 6,937): Five years

Mentor (population 47,450): One year

Mentor-on-the-Lake (population 7,131): Five years

Painesville (population 20,312): Three years

Wickliffe (population 12,652): Three years

Willoughby (population 23,959): Two years

Willoughby Hills (population 10,019): Two years

Lorain County

Amherst (population 12,681): Four years

Avon (population 24,847): Three years

Avon Lake (population 25,206): Four years

Elyria (population 52,656): One year

Grafton (population 5,895): Four years

North Ridgeville (population 35,280): One year

Oberlin (population 8,555): Four years

Sheffield Lake (population 8,957): Five years

Vermilion (population 10,659): Three years

Mahoning County

Campbell (population 7,852): Four years

Canfield (population 7,699): Four years

Struthers (population 10,063): Five years

Medina County

Brunswick (population 35,426): Three years

Medina (population 26,094): Four years

Wadsworth (population 24,007): Five years

Portage County

Aurora (population 17,239): Three years

Kent (population 28,215): Five years

Ravenna (population 11,323): Two years

Streetsboro (population 17,260): Three years

Richland County

Mansfield (population 47,534): One year

Ontario (population 6,656): Three years

Shelby (population 9,282): Three years

Stark County

Alliance (population 21,672): Three years

Canal Fulton (population 5,325): Five years

Green (population 27,475): Two years

Louisville (population 9,521): Five years

New Franklin (population 13,877): Three years

North Canton (population 17,842): Three years

Summit County

Barberton (population 25,191): Three years

Hudson (population 23,110): Two years

Fairlawn (population 7,710): Four years

Macedonia (population 12,168): Five years

Munroe Falls (population 5,044): Five years

Norton (population 11,673): Two years

Reminderville (population 5,412): Five years

Tallmadge (population 18,394): Four years

Twinsburg (population 19,248): Three years

Trumbull County

Cortland (population 7,105): Five years

Girard (population 9,603): Four years

Hubbard (population 7,636): Five years

Niles (population 18,443): Two years

Warren (population 39,201): One year

Tuscarawas County

Dover (population 13,112): Four years

Uhrichsville (population 5,272): Three years

Wayne County

Orrville (population 8,452): Five years

Wooster (population 27,232): Two years

Rittman (population 6,131): Three years