By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
In both a year in review and a impact plan for up coming months, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Jerad Sutton said state troopers caught more impaired drivers in 2012 and will focus on impaired driver arrests in 2013.
“Troopers have had an increased focus on impaired driving enforcement,” Sutton said, “and these efforts are paying off. In 2012, patrol arrests for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) increased by 3 percent and OVI related crashes decreased by 14 percent.”
Sutton credits the post’s high arrest rate in 2012 to the state patrol’s concentrated efforts — called Trooper Shield — a program to increase the focus on impaired driving enforcement.
“Trooper Shield is an ongoing effort to contribute to a safer Ohio,” Sutton said.
Across the state in 2012, troopers made 24,520 OVI arrests, Sutton said. Last year the effort netted 376 arrests of impaired drivers in Ashtabula County — a increase over years past.
“Of those arrests, nearly one in four — 23 percent — included a speed violation and 17 percent included a violation for driving without a valid driver license,” he said.
Last year, 431 people were killed and 7,299 were injured in 12,168 OVI-related crashes.
“Impaired drivers were responsible for 40 percent of the fatal crashes in 2012,” Sutton said.
As effective as troopers were in OVI arrests last year, Sutton said he knows they can’t do it alone.
“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own,” he said. “We need the commitment of other drivers to make our roads safe. People can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions, like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”
Drivers can also call the post’s hotline to report a possible impaired driver or drug activity or stranded motorists by dialing #677 to report impaired drivers, drug activity or stranded motorists. The hashtag and number can be dialed just like a telephone number.