Ohio Crackdown on Impaired Driving
Ohio recently joined the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to step up police efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads. In late August through Labor Day 2012, state law-enforcement officials planned 34 checkpoints on Ohio roads, more than 6,500 enforcement hours and an additional 1,700 hours of saturation patrols.
Saturation patrols are concentrations of officers in areas with historically high drunk driving rates. Law enforcement during a saturation patrol focus on apprehending those driving erratically, recklessly, aggressively or otherwise in violation of traffic laws in ways that might indicate intoxication and potential violations of Ohio operating a vehicle while intoxicated – known as OVI – laws.
Similarly, the checkpoints were placed where high numbers of OVI injury and fatality accidents have occurred.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” push is a nationwide effort to fight drunk driving by supporting state and local law enforcement in their efforts to get impaired drivers off the roads. A huge part of that effort is the use of marketing and media to raise awareness and thereby deter people from driving drunk. For example, billboards and signs were prominently erected in Ohio during the Labor Day blitz.
According to WEWS-TV, state safety officials were publicly recommending in conjunction with the crackdown:
- That residents talk to others about the need to stay off the roads after drinking alcohol
- That people designate sober drivers to take the wheel after parties and other gatherings where alcoholic beverages are served to safely transport those who have been drinking
- That drivers and passengers exert peer pressure on others in vehicles to buckle up
Ohio OVI Statistics
WEWS-TV reports further that in 2011, 414 victims died in the state in 383 alcohol-related accidents, and. that in almost half of all accidents involving fatalities, the drivers had been drinking.
In addition, U.S. drunk-driving rates are much higher at night and on weekends, reports the NHTSA.
So clearly, drunk driving remains a huge problem in Ohio and aggressive law enforcement is entirely justified. State OVI laws are strict and anyone convicted faces serious penalties like license suspension or revocation, fees, jail time and car immobilization or forfeiture. The severity of the punishment rises with the seriousness of the accident and whether the defendant is a repeat offender. But other consequences can be equally devastating like the inability to get a job or apartment because of a criminal record, or guilt and remorse from having harmed other people in an accident.
It is well known that the ingestion of alcohol can impair your response system and should be avoided if you plan to drive. Alcohol affects people in different ways and at times it can be difficult for people to determine whether they are impaired or over the legal limit.
Being charged with an OVI in Ohio can be a frightening experience. When unfamiliar with the law, it is difficult to know how to properly defend yourself and your integrity. An experienced OVI attorney will work to protect your rights and liberties, and provide a vigorous defense.
No one should face a drunk-driving charge alone, and speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer on Ohio impaired driving law can make a crucial difference in the outcome.