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Ohio updates online DUI offender registry; criticisms persist

Ohio has a drunk driving registry that serves as an online repository for the names of drivers deemed especially problematic by state authorities. Those drivers are motorists who have demonstrated a continued pattern of dangerous driving behavior that safety regulators say poses a heightened risk for car accidents on state roads and highways.

That would seem to be a reasonable assumption, since input on the list is confined to motorists who have been convicted at least five times for drunk driving within the past 20 years.

Some Ohio and other readers might think that a website limited to such offenders would make for a relatively limited storehouse. After all, how many five-time (or more) DUI offenders can there be in the state?

Unfortunately, a lot. In fact, a number of people might find the number to be simply shocking.

An enhanced version of the registry (which was first rolled out in late 2008) lists 5,331 names. That many inebriated motorists with established histories of getting behind the wheel while drunk spells an obvious problem in the state with drinking and driving behavior on a large scale.

We first made note of the registry in an October 11, 2013, blog post, citing some of the criticisms aimed at it, most notably allegations that it is inaccurate and far from comprehensive.

The amended version, which went online recently, seeks to rectify the inaccuracies. Although it now contains the names of thousands of offenders who were absent in the initial product, charges that it is unreliable continue to be leveled.

The registry now lists 389 offenders from Franklin County alone.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Listing of drunken drivers still has holes," Randy Ludlow, Dec. 28, 2013

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