Every Ohio resident knows that drinking and driving is not only against the law, but dangerous as well. Even so, many thousands of people across the country continue to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink in order to drive safely. For this reason, alcohol remains a primary factor in numerous car accidents that take place here in Cleveland, across the state and around the country.
In 2018, troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol made approximately 27,000 arrests for operating a vehicle while impaired, or OVI. That same year, 358 people died in crashes in which alcohol played a role. Even though that number is lower than it was for 2017, those tragic deaths occurred due to accidents that were likely entirely preventable.
Data indicates that repeat drunk drivers were responsible for around one-third of those deaths. Some drivers were convicted of OVI five or more times in the last 20 years. Sadly, some drivers continue to put their needs and desires above the safety of those sharing the roads with them. This continues despite the potential penalties associated with two or more convictions. First time offenders can opt to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles instead of losing their licenses for a year.
Even with increased penalties and other efforts to deter drunk driving, people continue to lose their lives in alcohol-related car accidents. The victims and their families must live with the aftermath of another driver’s selfish decisions. Fortunately, state law does allow them to pursue restitution from those drivers to help with the financial losses they incur as a result.