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OVI checkpoints make roads safer

Proven successful deterrents in the ongoing battle by law enforcement agencies against impaired drivers have been OVI checkpoints.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol teams with regional law agencies to set up checkpoints throughout our area. They are periodically conducted at different spots at different times. You may have gone through one.

The OSHP and St. Clair Township Police Dept. conducted a multi-agency OVI checkpoint from 7-11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23. Obviously evenings are the best time to check for impaired drivers. Weekends too. The checkpoint was held on state Route 170 at milepost 1 in the township.

The OSHP reports that 497 vehicles passed through the checkpoint. Three drivers were diverted to a secondary area. Besides the checkpoint, troopers and local agencies worked nearby saturation patrols. There were two arrests made for operating an impaired vehicle and one possession of drugs charge.

It is encouraging that out of all those vehicles only a few violators were caught. But, of course, it only takes one impaired driver on the loose to wreak havoc on the roadways. Our area is no different. We have had our share over the years of senseless tragedies caused by drink, drugs and vehicles caused by drivers who shouldn’t have been on the roads in the first place. Especially at night.

As the OSHP informs, OVI checkpoints and saturation points are funded through fines from impaired drivers — which makes sense — and additional federal funding. The goal is to make motorists aware of Ohio’s impaired driver problem; help bring about a reduction in the number of alcohol and drug-related crashes; and, to deter and intercept impaired drivers.

Stop and think about it for a moment: just how many impaired drivers are out and about on a typical weekend evening? Likely more than we would want to ponder.

The OVI checkpoints and use of saturation points are a proven instrument in combating impaired driving and possibly saving lives. It is a program that the OSHP should be commended for initiating and utilizing. If you are stopped sometime at a checkpoint, don’t consider it an inconvenience but as a useful tool. Anything to makes our roadways safer is good.

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