Hamilton County leads state in drunk driving deaths

Hamilton County recorded more drunk driving deaths than any Ohio County in 2013, highlighting the risk to residents.

Cincinnati residents take pride in the quality of life they enjoy. However, there are serious risks that face people when they must share the roads with drunk drivers. Permanent disabilities and fatal injuries can result from accidents caused by drivers who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.

The gravity of this risk can be seen in the statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2013, Hamilton County was the location of more drunk driving deaths than any other county in the state of Ohio. Specific information is as follows:

  • In Hamilton County, 23 out of 38 traffic fatalities involved alcohol.
  • Franklin County experienced 20 fatalities due to the negligence of drunk drivers.
  • In Cuyahoga County, 18 people died at the hands of drunk drivers.
  • In Montgomery County, drunk driving deaths numbered 17.
  • Lucas and Summit Counties each lost 12 lives in accidents involving alcohol.

Statewide, 271 recorded traffic fatalities resulted from impaired driving crashes.

High BAC levels and repeat offenders

Century Council data from 2012 confirms the reality that impaired drivers with prior DUI offenses are frequently involved in serious accidents. The same is true of drivers found to have exceptionally high blood alcohol levels. Out of 385 drunk driving deaths in Ohio that year, over 77 percent of impaired drivers had BAC levels of 0.15 percent or greater. Of the impaired drivers with prior offenses on record, more than 80 percent had BAC levels of 0.15 percent or greater.

How can the laws help prevent repeat offenses?

Some of the consequences that face drivers convicted of drunk driving charges are punitive in nature. Others, however, aim to prevent future offenses. The use of an ignition interlock device is one such penalty.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the use of IIDs may be ordered for people convicted of first or second offenses but is not mandatory. For third or subsequent offenses, drivers must be ordered to use ignition interlock devices when allowed to operate vehicles.

Traditional IIDs involve a unit mounted on the dash that collects driver breath data. A computer chip must be installed into the vehicle's ignition. Together, these two components communicate to determine whether or not the vehicle's engine is allowed to be started. Technological advances in auto manufacturing are allowing some vehicle makers to consider building IID functionality into new cars according to TechHive.

Important information for victims and family members

Preventing an accident is always preferred. When that is not possible, victims and loved ones deserve help. Contacting an attorney after a crash with a drunk driver should be a priority for all involved.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury