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Performance card on Ohio's DUI registry: not exactly sterling

Let the blame game begin.

The rationale underlying Ohio’s online registry of drunk drivers is both eminent and understandable: The state wants residents to have access to a public repository that provides information on especially problematic DUI offenders.

Those motorists essentially comprise a Who’s-Who list of the drivers deemed to be the highest risk for other motorists. The link between drunk driving and car accidents is close and well-established, and the registry is an obvious tool meant to inform its users of the most dangerous drivers on state roads.

The dubious qualifications for inclusion: at least five drunk driving offenses within the past two decades, with one of those being since September 2008.

One notable problem seems unquestioned and indisputable regarding the list: It is largely useless, given the paucity of its data and the inaccuracy in much of the information it does contain.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety supplies relevant data and maintains the website, but a department spokesperson says that the incomplete picture of drunk drivers in the state presented by the registry owes to the lack of data sent it by courts.

“W]e need to make sure there’s some accountability,” says State Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), a co-sponsor of the legislation that established the tool.

One thing is for sure, and that it that there is a compelling need for more comprehensive information regarding the repeat DUI offenders. Ohio has 88 counties, and courts in only 46 of those counties have supplied any data at all to the registry, which was created five years ago.

Among some notable exclusions: one driver now facing charges for his 11th drunk driving offense, and another currently in jail following his ninth DUI conviction.

Source: Toledo Blade, "Newspaper: Ohio's DUI registry incomplete," Sept. 30, 2013

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