Dayton Issues DUI “Party Plates”

By Lucas Sullivan Staff Writer Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Since 2004, Ohio law has required that judges assign special license plates to drivers with multiple drunken-driving convictions who still need a car.

But only 8,500 vehicles bore these “DUI plates” through the end of last year even though 33,000 Ohio drivers have five or more drunken driving convictions, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

The reluctance by Municipal Court judges to issue these plates is evident in Montgomery County, which ranks last among Ohio counties with at least 500,000 residents, in the number of registered DUI plates — 191 through 2007, according to the department.

Judges in Summit County, which has roughly the same number of residents as Montgomery County, issued nearly three times as many DUI plates through last year.

“I don’t order them too often,” presiding Dayton Municipal Judge John S. Pickrel said. “I don’t think they are that effective.”

Miami Twp. police Maj. John DiPietro, a board member for a local branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the plates should be issued more often.

“I think the public has a right to know who is on the road,” DiPietro said.

But Pickrel said discretion is needed to protect the innocent.

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