COLUMBUS — In an effort to cut down on impaired driving accidents, which often increase around the holidays, the Ohio Department of Public Safety released a registry of people convicted of five or more OVIs in recent years.
The new Habitual Offender Registry, which was released this week, includes names of all adults who have been convicted of five or more OVIs in Ohio in the past 20 years, as well as the dates and areas where they were charged. It shows that in Lorain County, more than 300 people have been convicted of driving under the influence at least five times in the last 20 years.
The new registry is an improvement on the original list created in 2008, which only named about 300 of the actual 5,300 offenders in Ohio.
Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said problems with the old registry were brought to the attention of the patrol a few months ago. The new registry will include names and information of all offenders by automatically compiling information about OVI convictions, rather than relying on court jurisdictions to add habitual offenders to the list.
For Ralston, the new registry is part of a larger goal to make the general public aware of the problem Ohio has with impaired driving.
“It’s raising folks’ awareness. People are dying on the roads every day,” Ralston said. She added that the number of fatal crashes from impaired driving has decreased over the years, but the state has to keep trying to bring down that number.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” she said.
The holiday season is often sees an increase in accidents caused by impaired driving.
Seven people died in OVI-related car accidents between Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2012.
This year, seven people in Ohio died from car accidents on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Two of the deaths were a result of impaired driving, according to the patrol.
The patrol asks anyone who sees impaired driving to call #677 to make a report.