On Friday, August 18th, The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, and the Circleville Police Department conducted an OVI checkpoint on South Court Street, in Circleville, Ohio.
The location was selected because it is within 3 miles of a heavy concentration of alcohol related car accidents, property damage, and deaths. The specific location on Court Street is ideal for legal reasons as well, because it allows motorists to turn to avoid the checkpoint. In Supreme Court cases, publicizing the checkpoint ahead of time, and making it easy for motorists to avoid them avoids Illegal Search and Seizure concerns.- Advertisement -
According to The Ohio State Highway Patrol, publicizing the checkpoint is a big part of the activity’s effectiveness. Having regular OVI checkpoints and publicizing them reduces impaired driving occurrences.
In 2015, there was one fatal crash related to impaired driving in Pickaway County. That jumped to 2 deaths in 2016. In 2017, there have already been 3 OVI related traffic accidents. In all of Ohio in 2016, there are 313 alcohol related fatal crashes and 5,076 total alcohol related crashes. [Source: http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/2016CrashFacts.pdf]
According to Ohio State Highway Patrolman Holbrook, police can no longer count on the smell of alcohol alone to detect impairment. Many more impairments in modern times are caused by drug use, not alcohol use. Holbrook has special training in impairment detection that uses involuntary biological indicators. For example, improper pupil dilation can be a strong indicator of impairment. Dilated pupils in the day time can be an indication of stimulate use. Constricted pupils at night time can be an indicator of depressant use.
Officers trained in drug induced impairment detection attend a class where homeless volunteer to be tested by the trainees. The students look for biological indicators of drug use and make a prediction about the subject’s usage. Then the homeless submit to a blood test. Candidates must determine which drug categories were in use, if any were in use, with %100 accuracy in order to become certified.- Advertisement -
Holbrook mentioned that both illegal and legal drugs could cause impairment. Some prescription drugs come with warnings about driving after using the drug. If someone is using a prescribed drug in accordance with the prescription, then drives, they could still be breaking OVI laws if they are impaired. It’s important to talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about what impacts a prescription could have on your ability to drive.