The Ohio State Highway Patrol says that OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) cases account for 40% of all fatal crashes in Ohio for the past five years.

This year there is new issue–the state mandate that bars must close at 10 p.m. to limit the spread of COVID 19.

Could that possibly decrease the number of impaired drivers on the roads?

“I don’t know if that’s going to change any of their behavior at all,” said Lt. Maurice Waddell, post commander of the St. Clairsville post. “Last year we had over 430 OVI arrests. This year we’re a little over 300. That’s still significantly high. Even with the bars closing early, people either drink at home and decide to drive or they go to a friend’s house or family member’s house. I don’t think that’s going to change anything with the bars closing early.”

He said the patrol urges people who plan to drink to arrange for a designated driver.

He said the fine for OVI is at least 500 dollars, and that’s not including license reinstatement costs and attorney’s fees.

And he adds, “While you’re out there, be sure to buckle up.”