By Frank Lewis
As part of the Highway Patrol’s ongoing effort to contribute to a safer Ohio, troopers are continuing their increased focus on impaired driving enforcement – and these efforts are paying off. For the second year in a row trooper issued more than 24,000 citations for OVI.
OVI-related crashes accounted for 33 percent of all fatal crashes in Ohio. This is down from an average of 43 percent from the 2010 – 2012 time periods.
There were 11,226 OVI-related crashes on Ohio roadways, killing 330 and injuring 6,843. Speed was a contributing factor in 60 percent of all OVI-related crashes. Franklin, Hamilton and Cuyahoga Counties accounted for nearly one-in-four OVI related crashes in 2013. Franklin County has led the state in OVI-related crashes for the last five years.
Portsmouth Post Commander Lt. M.L. Gore said Scioto County stayed virtually the same from 2012 to 2013.
“We made 336 OVI arrests in 2013 and 335 in 2012,” Gore told the Daily Times.
“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own – We need your commitment to make our roads safe. You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions - like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”
The public is encouraged to call #677 or the local patrol post to report impaired drivers, drug activity or stranded motorists.
“It’s just like the whole Homeland Security thing; if you see something, say something,” Gore said. “The same goes for impaired drivers.”
Gore looked at hypothetical situations people need to be aware of, such as someone driving 35 in a 55 miles per hour zone, or someone driving 35, then 60, then slowing back down to 35 again.
“There’s a reason why he’s doing that,” Gore said. “Maybe he’s an OVI driver or he’s impaired by pills or something. Maybe he’s got his arms locked and he’s driving at a slower speed so that he can stay within the lane. If you see him driving over the lane, straddling either the center line or the fog line; or running over the rumble strips. Just odd behavior that an ordinary prudent person wouldn’t be doing, they should report it.”
Gore said the Portsmouth Post does make arrests on reports by other motorists who have observed impaired driving.
To view a copy of the entire statistical recap, visit http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/OVI_Bulletin_2014.pdf.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.