State leaders seeking wider reporting of repeat OVI offenders

BY JON CRAIG • The Cincinnati Enquirer • January 11, 2010

COLUMBUS -- Almost 42,000 Ohio drivers have five or more convictions for drunken driving two years after passage of tougher OVI laws.

An Enquirer analysis of statistics from the state Department of Public Safety also found more than 500 of the worst repeat offenders convicted in Ohio moved to border states, including 254 in Kentucky, 117 in Indiana and 95 in West Virginia. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle officials don't know exactly when these drivers moved out of state because the conviction database goes back decades. Another 251 of Ohio's worst drunken drivers now live in Florida, according to Ohio BMV records, which are shared with other state motor vehicle bureaus.

Nationwide, all driver's license applicants are subject to a review of their driving records through the Problem Driver Pointer System, a national driver registry that tracks violations and suspensions from state-to-state.

Lindsay Komlanc, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said it is possible some of the people licensed in bordering states are employed in Ohio. Ohio only began verifying residency while licensing its drivers in October, she said. Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia also have residency requirements for driver's licenses.

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