One may have labored under the assumption, when a driver is arrested on an operating a vehicle while intoxicated charge, he or she would not be driving by a house where children play, or on the same highway where one commutes to work.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Motorists all across Ohio are driving while under suspension, and being arrested repeatedly - some 12 and 15 times - and each time they get behind the wheel, they put one's family and friends in mortal danger.
In an upcoming series beginning Monday, the Portsmouth Daily Times will examine this problem, look at the options available to law enforcement and courts, as well as what legislation has been introduced to attempt to put the skids on drivers who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Portsmouth Post Commander Lt. Mike Crispen talks about the mindset of repeat offenders, and their complete disregard for the safety of themselves and others.
We will take a look at laws on the books, and one law an Ohio Senate member thinks will provide some help to law enforcement and the courts in keeping these drivers off the road.
Sen. Timothy J. Grendell, R- Chesterland, sponsor of Senate Bill 17, is asking for the increased use of electronic devices.
Grendell said his bill will align Ohio law with federal standards, and allow judges to extend sentences and/or send repeat offenders to treatment programs.
The series will begin Monday, with an analysis of a new video - 24 hours of OVI - now available to the public on the Internet.
Tuesday's edition will deal with repeat offenders in southern Ohio and other parts of the state, and why people should be concerned with their presence on roadways.
Wednesday's edition will tackle the laws that currently exist in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, and will examine SB 17, which looks to strengthen the penalties against repeat offenders.
Area and state law enforcement leaders, including Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn, will speak their minds on the subject.
At one point, Kuhn will talk about the current laws and how they are subject to the attitudes of offenders.
"We have good laws that have some teeth in them," Kuhn said. "Our judges try to work with people, and get them the help they need. But I agree with our judges, people who have no interest in changing their conduct, why not put them in prison?"
It is the hope of the Portsmouth Daily Times this series will bring into the light of day the dark threat that is repeat OVI offenders driving on area roadways, and maybe offer solutions to a problem that has plagued highways, streets, and back roads for decades.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.