Editorial Response: Julie Leggett - Drunk Driving - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Editorial Response: Julie Leggett - Drunk Driving

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(WOIO) -

I'm Julie Leggett, Executive Director in Northeast Ohio for Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

Nearly 500 drunk driving related deaths occurred in Ohio last year. There are 147,000 three-time OVI offenders on our roads.  

Statistics show that before a person gets their first OVI charge they have driven at least 80 times impaired.  Are our laws strict enough for both first-time and repeat offenders? 

A first-time offender can receive a three-day to six- month jail sentence and a license suspension. For a second offense, the penalties are  six days to six months in jail with a driving suspension.  For a third ovi --- the jail time is thirty days to one year with a ten year license suspension.  

But are these penalties adequate to stop drunk drivers? Considering the number of offenders and that 60% re-offend, the answer could be no.  If someone has not learned their lesson after the second OVI, should the penalties drastically increase?  

These questions have been debated over and over again, but the fact remains that over 40% of the crashes last year were the result of someone being driving impaired.  A crime that is 100% preventable.

Thank you.  

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