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Drunk driving constant fight

The New Year’s Eve holiday and much of the weekend was relatively quiet for the Ohio State Highway Patrol and area law enforcement.

We are thankful for that but everyone must realize that the problem of drunk or intoxicated driving doesn’t go away once the holiday passes.

In fact, this is a year-round problem that often gets overlooked until tragedy strikes. But a recent report by the Ohio State Highway Patrol shows that Lawrence County has room to improve when it comes to keeping drunk drivers off the road, especially when it comes to repeat offenders.

With 14 felony cases of operating a vehicle impaired over the past two years, Lawrence County is number nine out of all 88 counties.

OVI’s are classified as felonies if the driver is a repeat violator and has had four or more such arrests in the past six years.

Although the county wasn’t in the top 10 for overall OVI arrests with 739 (which doesn’t include OVI charges issued by local law enforcement) these numbers show that this is a legitimate problem.

The solutions aren’t quite as easily identifiable.

Of course it starts with more law enforcement on the roads, but that is a difficult proposition with shrinking revenues and increasing expenses.

While education efforts and tougher standards for bars when it comes to serving individuals who have clearly reached their limit would help, that wouldn’t be enough on their own.

Perhaps the best deterrent may be for the legislators to adopt harsher punishment for those who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

And judges need to impose these harsh penalties so that the punishment fits the crime.

There is no perfect solution but we must act now rather than when it is to late.