Columbus police will join the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in its effort to end drunk driving through a movement called "Dive Sober or Get Pulled Over." This combined effort is a response to a startling increase in the number of "Super OVIs."
What is a “Super OVI” in Ohio?
Super OVIs are drunk driving arrests where the driver's blood alcohol concentration exceeds .17%.
Ohio has increased penalties for "Super OVI" offenders, according to § 4511.19:
For illegal per se offenses with a BAC ≥.17: First offense – 3 consecutive days in jail with 3 consecutive days of a driver’s intervention program or 6 consecutive days in jail; Second offense (within 6 years) – 20 consecutive days (Alternative: 10 consecutive days in jail and not less than 36 consecutive days “house arrest” with electronic monitoring”).
Super OVI Arrests in Columbus
Columbus law enforcement arrested more than six drunk drivers with extreme BAC's since January, a significant increase since 2010. These numbers are especially difficult for families who lost loved ones in DUI-related traffic accidents. One woman, who witnessed the death of her son in a DUI accident, described her experience to a local news source. She said, "It was like nothing you could imagine. You don't want to go through that. You wouldn't want an enemy to experience that."
After suffering the loss of her son, she published a book, Choose Your Way Out, which urges drivers to avoid drinking and driving. "You don't always get to choose what happens to you," she said, "but you can always choose how you respond."
According to research conducted by The Columbus Division of Police, the number of Super OVI drivers has increased every year since 2010. A Sergeant with the Columbus Police Department said that the department uses portable breath testing to identify drivers with excessive alcohol in their blood.
"The truck also has a BAC machine. We would offer you the ability to blog into that machine, and the results of that are considered evidence." He described the increase in Super OVIs and the death associated with them as frustrating.
"Every one of these impaired driving deaths is preventable," said the Sergeant, "…all it requires is a little bit of pre-planning."Click here to learn more about the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" program.