Authorities stepping up OVI enforcement

By Frank Lewis

August 18, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Officers in Scioto County are again participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to crack down on impaired driving. Troopers from the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and deputies with the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office will be aggressively enforcing the law during enforcement blitz, which began Friday Aug. 16 and will last through Labor Day.

During the enforcement period, law enforcement partners have planned more than 7,000 enforcement hours and more than 900 hours of saturation patrols around the state.

“Deputies will be out in full force working overtime during this important enforcement blitz,” Captain John Murphy from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said. “The deputies working this blitz will not be taken away from their daily patrol duties, but will be working overtime thanks to grants the sheriff’s office received from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.”

According to provisional data, 494 people died in 453 OVI (Operating a Vehicle while under the Influence) -related crashes on Ohio’s roads in 2012. Impaired drivers were involved in 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes.

In a news release, OSHP Portsmouth Post Commander, Lieutenant Mike Gore and Murphy said - “It’s about making good decisions and influencing others to do the same, if you plan to drink then designate a driver and make sure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a safety belt.”

Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said his officers will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk.

Portsmouth Police Sergeant Rob Davis said holidays such as Labor Day are particularly dangerous. He said, during the Labor Day weekend in 2011, a total of 138 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol content (concentration) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred during early evening and overnight from 6 p.m. - 5:59 a.m.

The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown is a program organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.