I am not a supporter of OVI checkpoints, but I realize in today's society they are necessary. I was in one the other day, and was waved right on through. But I still found it annoying. I guess the checkpoints are just a necessary tool to try to keep the unimpaired drivers safe.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, throughout last year's Labor Day reporting period of Friday, Sept. 2 at midnight through Monday, Sept. 5 at 11:59 p.m., 15 people were killed on Ohio roadways, including five deaths that were alcohol-related. During this same time period troopers arrested 693 drivers for OVI.
The patrol said troopers would be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols during the holiday weekend as part of a continued effort that began Aug. 17 when troopers and thousands of law enforcement officers throughout Ohio joined forces for a combined impaired driving enforcement effort as part of the national ''Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over'' crackdown. The news release said ''this enforcement initiative will last through Labor Day.''
So far this year, the patrol said troopers have arrested 15,960 impaired drivers. That's almost 900 more than during the same time period last year, the patrol said.
The patrol also released last week a frightening cruiser dash-cam video of a driver going the wrong way on the Ohio Turnpike. I watched it and it was shocking. The patrol said in a release the incident happened Aug. 28 when Joseph J. Kozar, 67, of Amherst, Ohio, actually struck a highway patrol cruiser. Troopers apprehended Kozar without further damage or injury to innocent motorists. He was charged with vehicular assault, OVI, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
If you want to see the video, go to this column on the Tribtoday.com website for the link.
"This compelling video demonstrates the enormous danger that impaired drivers cause to innocent motorists," said Col. John Born, Patrol superintendent. "Motorists are reminded that if you plan to drink this holiday weekend, plan ahead and designate a sober driver - if you drive impaired, you will be arrested." The Patrol also still encourages the public to continue using #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.
So go ahead and enjoy those burgers and have fun with neighbors, family and friends. Go ahead and have an adult beverage if you want, just don't get behind the wheel.