COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to drive sober. This is all part of their annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. 

Just last year, police arrested 22,000 people for driving impaired. They say there were 13,047 OVI-related crashes, which resulted in 597 deaths and 8,178 injuries. State Highway Patrol wants to remind others that alcohol is not the only form of driving impaired, drugs are also a part of that check. 

“Troopers are going to be out in force and are going to be looking for impaired drivers and remove them from the roadway,” says Sergeant Nathan Dennis. 

Sgt. Dennis says troopers are seeing impaired driving at all hours of the day. He says they have been aware and are working vigorously to intercept those drivers.

“We are seeing innocent lives that are killed as a result of that decision,” said Dennis

He says he wants to remind people to look for a sober and safe drive.

“If you are planning on a night out, have someone else pick you up, call a cab, or get other resources so you don’t make bad decisions that can possibly hurt you or someone else,” said Dennis.

Sgt. Dennis says he’s been in his position since December and says he has seen more fatal crashes.  

From August 19 through September 7th they will aggressively enforce the impaired driving laws of Ohio. On the Ohio State Patrol website, it shows there were 597 OVI-related fatalities just in 2019. In 2018, there were a total of 402.

“Impaired driving is a serious matter that puts innocent people in danger, and all too frequently results in tragic consequences,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

Penalties for a first OVI conviction in Ohio vary by degree of intoxication. For a “low level” OVI (BAC of less than .17%) you can be sentenced to:

  • a minimum three days in jail or mandatory attendance at a three-day “Drivers Intervention Program”
  • up to 5 years of probation
  • a fine from $375 to $1,075 and related fees (get a better idea of how much a first DUI will cost you), and
  • a court-imposed license suspension of one to three years.

You may be able to avoid some portion of the jail term and license suspension by agreeing to use an IID. For a “high level” OVI (a BAC of .17% or higher or refusal of a chemical test), you can expect doubled jail time and mandated display of restricted license plates.

If you see someone driving impaired Ohio State Patrol asks you call #677