Ohio bill targets repeat drunken drivers

| 9/27/2007

A bill in the Ohio House that would crack down on people with multiple drunken driving convictions could come up for consideration in the final months of the legislative session.

Sponsored by Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, the bill would force multiple offenders of the state’s driving under the influence law to submit to breath or blood testing when stopped by police on suspicion of drunken driving.

There are more than 33,000 drivers in Ohio who have five or more DUIs, Grendell told The Toledo Blade. There are more than 100,000 drivers in the state who have three or more DUIs.

The bill would permit police to use “whatever reasonable means are necessary” to get a blood sample from repeat offenders suspected of drunken driving who have refused a breath test.

It also would require the impoundment of vehicles and revocation of licenses for one year for those convicted twice in six years. In addition, mandatory treatment for alcoholism and an electronic monitoring bracelet would be required for repeat offenders who have permission from a judge to drive. The devices measure alcohol through a person’s sweat.

Another provision in the bill authorizes establishing a public registry of offenders with five or more convictions during the past 20 years. State law now prohibits the release of names and conviction records of those who have been convicted of drunken driving.

The bill – SB17 – is in the House Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee. The Senate previously approved it by unanimous consent.

Grendell’s bill must pass both chambers before the Legislature finishes up their work by the end of the year. If not, it can be brought back for consideration during the 2008 session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio in 2007, click here.