Last Friday, Columbus Police began their "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign to crack down on drunk drivers. Recently, police have noticed an upward trend in Super OVI drivers – people driving with alcohol readings up to four times the legal limit. Columbus Police report arresting six drivers this year who have had blood alcohol content (BAC) readings of .30 and higher.
A high concentration of the most severe drunk driving accidents are caused by Super OVI drivers. Many of these are fatal. Super OVI statistics have been on the rise since 2010. Four years ago, Columbus Police arrested 10 drivers with a .30+ BAC. In 2011, there were 12 of these arrests. And by 2013, police arrested 15 Super OVI drivers.
A BAC of .30 is extremely dangerous. The legal limit is .08 percent, at which point medical professionals say a person is impaired. At .16, many people will pass out. As you can see from this progression, driving at .30 is not only dangerous for other drivers on the road; it is dangerous for the person ingesting this much alcohol even if they never get into a car. A BAC of .30 can be life threatening.
“High Test” OVI
The Ohio Revised Code actually designates a blood alcohol concentration of .17% as a “high” OVI with increased penalties. If you test over double the legal limit, then you could face increased drunk driving penalties, including:
- 3 consecutive days in jail AND 3 consecutive days of a driver’s license intervention program, OR
- 6 consecutive days in jail
For a second “high test” OVI offense, you could face penalties including:
- 20 consecutive days in jail OR
- 10 consecutive days in jail AND at least 36 consecutive days of house arrest
These penalties apply for second “high OVI” offenses within 6 years of the first.
Columbus’ BAC Truck
Accompanying the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign is a mobile BAC truck. This BAC testing station is mobile, so it can get to the scene of a drunk driving stop and test the driver's alcohol content at the scene. Police are hoping the truck will deter drunk drivers, but remember, you are not legally required to submit to any kind of drunk driving test until after you have been legally arrested.
This increased OVI enforcement will be in effect through Labor Day Weekend, so be aware, Columbus residents!