Police Warn About Super OVIs
Starting Friday, Columbus Police will be taking part in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
Based on recent statistics from police, there is a chance some of those drivers might be behind the wheel with blood alcohol readings four times the legal limit.
Columbus police have already arrested more than a half dozen people this year with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than .30.
The legal limit is .08.
The high BAC numbers are upsetting to the families of those killed by drunk drivers.
"It was just terrible. It was terrible," Columbus resident Lynette David said when recalling the death of her son, Charlie.
Charlie would have turned 28-years-old this year if a young man had thought twice about driving while impaired.
David says she witnessed the driver hit her little boy in the street.
"It was like nothing you could imagine," she said. "You don't want to go through that. I don't care who you are, even your enemy. You wouldn't want an enemy to experience that."
David has used her pain for good, publishing a book called Choose Your Way Out and speaking out against drunk driving.
"You don't always get to choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you respond," she said.
10TV showed David statistics The Columbus Division of Police have compiled since 2010.
Those numbers show an increase in the number of drivers arrested with a BAC of at least .30. It's about four times the legal limit.
Police arrested 10 super OVI drivers in 2010, 12 in 2011, 12 in 2012 and 15 in 2013. The highest BAC in that stretch was a .386 recorded in 2012.
"It's ridiculous," David said. "You might as well go blindfold yourself and ride your bike on 270, the freeway, if you're going to do that because it's ridiculous."
According to medical professionals, at .16 many social drinkers will pass out from the alcohol.
A jump to .30 and above is life threatening and is the level of surgical anesthesia.
"That's a whole lot of alcohol," said Sgt. Michael Smith with Columbus Police.
Smith is hoping the police mobile BAC truck and the equipment inside will get people to think twice before drinking and driving.
"We have a portable breath tester, which would aid an officer in making a decision whether or not to arrest a person," Smith said. "The truck also has a BAC machine. We would offer you the ability to blow into that machine, and the results of that are considered evidence."
Smith says it is frustrating to see drunk driving-related deaths.
"Every one of these impaired driving deaths is preventable. Every single one and all it requires is a little bit of pre-planning," he said.
A little pre-planning that could have saved little Charlie.
"The guy was drinking and driving and he killed him. He killed my son and he didn't have to do that," David said. "We've got to make better decisions."
Columbus police say the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign will run through Labor Day Weekend.