COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Numbers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) show troopers have arrested tens of thousands of people for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) more than once.
Of the about 100,000 OVI arrests made by OSHP in the last five years, about 30% are repeat offenders.
“The staggering number of 30,000 repeat offenders — obviously that first time didn’t teach them the lesson,” said Rachel Babich, Program Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Ohio.
The numbers were released along with video of what OSHP said was a driver’s sixth OVI arrest since the mid-1990s.
“Unfortunately, that’s way too high, so one out of every three people that are getting arrested have already been arrested, and there’s a chance we’re going to see them again,” said Sgt. Tyler Ross with the OSHP. “They need help, they need our help, they need their friends and families to say something.”
Ross said those arrest numbers are just from OSHP, so the statistics could be higher when including other law enforcement agencies. He and MADD Ohio say there is no reason for people to be driving under the influence.
“Those are choices people are making, unfortunately, to get behind the wheel of a car, to operate that car, and it’s a decision. It’s a decision people are making they shouldn’t be, especially right now, there’s way too many ride-sharing programs, there’s too many things in place,” Ross said.
Preventing people from driving under the influence is an issue close to Laura Seger’s heart.
Seger’s son Joey was killed in 2010 when he was hit head on by a driver who was under the influence of drugs. Joey was a senior in high school, and she said he was a gentle giant who wanted to help anyone he could.
“You just don’t ever think it will be you, it’s always somewhere else, somebody else, and if I don’t do something then my son’s a statistic for 2010 as a victim of an impaired driver, and I can’t live with that,” Seger said.
Her son is the reason she volunteers with MADD Ohio.
With warmer weather hitting the state and more events on the schedule at this time of year, Ross said OVI numbers often increase.
Seger wants to remind people to make a plan for a sober ride before going out. “This is life and death, and when bad things happen, you can’t undo what you caused, you can’t bring that person back,” she said.
The OSHP encourages people to safely call #677 if they see dangerous driving on Ohio roadways.