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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ohio Drunken Drivers Will Be Listed On Searchable Database

An Ohio law takes effect today which will require courts to send information on repeat drunk driver offenders to the Ohio Department of Public Safety for the creation of a searchable database.

Any driver that has been convicted of driving drunk at least five times in a 20 year period will be listed on a new manageable searchable data base created by the Ohio Department of Public Safety with information sent to them by Ohio courts.

Their name, birth date and address will be listed on the database for Ohio residents to search and discover who in their neighborhood is a multiple offender.

Other offenses related will also qualify towards the five-conviction minimum, such as vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or driving under the influence of drugs as reported by The Columbus Dispatch.

One supporter of this new law, Scott Woodworth, has been convicted 13 times and believes he poses a danger to the public and says the database is a good idea saying "People have a right to know who among them is a drunk."

Woodworth is 49 years old and is currently serving a 5 year sentence at Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient.

The new legislation was pushed hard by Senator Timothy J. Grendell, a Geauga County Republican, who also helped get further restrictions applied, such as anybody with at least two drunk driving convictions will not be allowed to refuse a blood test when stopped by the police.

Grendell states "You don't come up to a murder scene and have a man standing there with a smoking gun and allow him to say, 'No, I refuse to hand you the best evidence you've got. So why should suspected drunk drivers be allowed to keep our evidence from authorities?"

Further portions of the newly passed legislation mandates earlier court ordered treatments and more utilization of a device that requires drivers to blow into it to prove no alcohol has been consumed before allowing the car to start. Also those who violate their court probation will have to wear an ankle bracelet which will monitor the amount of alcohol in their sweat.

In the past 11 years, 2,979 people have gone to an Ohio prison for felonious drunken driving. An additional 462 went in for drunken driving and other crimes.

The repeaters are overwhelmingly male and white. Their average age is 39 1/2 .

In July, the most recent month for which statistics were available, Woodworth was one of 541 impaired drivers in Ohio prisons.

Woodworth asserts that if there had been devices to prove no alcohol consumption before allow people to drive, it would have kept him off the streets for all the previous years and it was by "God's grace" he never killed anyone, continuing on to say "I don't think I ever hit anything. At least that I know about."

The Ohio Department of Public Safety has until the end of the year to have the database up and running but according to spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc, they are not sure when it will be ready.