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Ohio Highway Patrol targets drunken drivers

Statement issued Wednesday:

Van Wert – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers: If you choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. As part of the Patrol's mantra – Trooper Shield – and their ongoing effort to contribute to a safer Ohio, troopers have had increased focus on impaired driving enforcement in 2011. Through December 11, troopers have arrested 1,383 more drivers for OVI than during the same period in 2010.

"We are seeing positive results from the hard work of our troopers on the road everyday removing impaired and dangerous drivers from the roadways," said Lt. Ray Haas, commander of the Van Wert Post. "As the Patrol's OVI arrests increase, we are seeing a direct correlation in the decrease of overall fatalities."

Impaired drivers were responsible for 40 percent of the fatal crashes in 2010. Through December 11 of this year, with overall fatalities down four percent, and OVI arrests up 1,383 arrests – Ohio is experiencing a decline of nearly five percent in OVI-related fatalities.

"We can't fight the battle against impaired driving on our own – We need your commitment to make our roads safe," said Lt. Ray Haas "You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions - like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up, can go a long way toward ensuring tragedies do not occur."

With the upcoming holidays, the Patrol is reminding drivers that this can be one of the most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. Last year in Ohio, 39 people died in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

The public is encouraged to continue using 1-877-7-PATROL to report dangerous drivers, impaired drivers or stranded motorists.

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