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How Does Ohio Deter People from Drinking and Driving?

Ohio combats drinking and driving through stringent laws, including mandatory OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) penalties like fines, license suspension, and even jail time. The state also employs sobriety checkpoints and educational programs to raise awareness. Curious about how these measures impact safety and what else Ohio might be doing? Dive deeper into the state's efforts to keep roads safe.

Hester Prynne had her scarlet letter, and now some people who drink and drive in Ohio have a stigma of their own: yellow license plates. Since 2004, some drivers convicted of intoxicated offenses have had to putter around in cars with yellow license plates with red lettering.

Not only do the plates let law enforcement officers know that they might want to keep an eye on the car, but they are also a mark of shame for the driver. The plates are meant for those who are driving with limited privileges, and they remain until the offender's driver's license has been fully restored -- anywhere from six months to three years.

Ohio issues special yellow and red license plates to drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving offenses.
Ohio issues special yellow and red license plates to drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving offenses.

While many applaud the so-called "party plates," others believe they go too far. "The thing that bothers me the most is the arbitrariness of the party plates, because we don't have them for anything else, and we're the only state that does it," said Charles Rowland, a DUI defense attorney. According to a report in early 2020, judges might be siding with the latter, as the number of plates being assigned has dropped considerably. Of course, the reason might also be that people are taking the hint and not getting behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

Some Buckeye-openers:

  • Thomas Edison was born in Ohio, and so was the inventor of the cash register, James Ritty, who needed a way to prevent his saloon workers from stealing money.

  • The largest cuckoo clock in the world can be found in Sugarcreek, Ohio, nicknamed "Little Switzerland."

  • Ohio ties with Virginia as being home to the most U.S. presidents. The eight with Ohio roots are Grant, Hayes, Garfield, McKinley, Taft, Harding, and both William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison.

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    • Ohio issues special yellow and red license plates to drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving offenses.
      Ohio issues special yellow and red license plates to drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving offenses.