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Franklin County had the second most number of drunk driving fatalities in the whole state of Ohio in 2013.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 989 vehicular fatalities in Ohio in 2013. Of those, 271 occurred in accidents involving alcohol. Franklin County experienced 76 total automotive fatalities, 20 of which were from drunk driving accidents.

Only one county lost more lives to drunk drivers than Franklin County that year. In Hamilton County, there were 23 drunk driving fatalities. Cuyahoga and Montgomery Counties were close behind with 18 and 17 deaths, respectively. In Lucas and Summit Counties, 12 people each died in alcohol-related crashes.

In its geographical area, Franklin County experienced many more deaths in drunk driving accidents than other counties. Fairfield County saw four such deaths, Pickaway and Licking Counties saw three each, Delaware and Madison Counties experienced one each and Union County had no drunk driving deaths that year.

Area stories highlight the dangers

It only takes a few moments to find news headlines describing tragic accidents caused by the negligence of drivers who chose to operate vehicles while impaired. One 10tv.com report told how State Route 315 was closed for a time on a Sunday morning after a two-car collision. In this case, it was the drunk driver who sustained critical injuries and was taken to the hospital.

The Columbus Dispatch provided details about the death of a 36-year old woman at the hands of a driver found to have a blood alcohol content more than double the legal limit. Additionally, marijuana was found in the driver’s bloodstream. A sentence of eight years in prison was handed down for the charge of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Are penalties strong enough?

The crash that killed the 36-year old woman prompted the initiation of a bill that would have required all people convicted of drunk driving to install and use ignition interlock devices. The bill did not pass.

Another potential penalty in Ohio is the loss of driving privileges. In most cases, this is a temporary suspension unless the conviction is for aggravated vehicular homicide in which case the suspension is for life. Even if this is the initial charge, a later reduction in charges often eliminates the lifetime ban.

In recent years, there have been very few orders for lifetime driving bans, although there have been four such suspensions in 2015 thus far.

What should people do?

Anyone negatively impacted by a drunk driver should remember that help is available. Lost lives cannot be reclaimed but compensation may be available. Talking to an attorney after a drunk driving accident is recommended.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury