Reminding YSU students about the risks of drinking and driving

According to DriversEd, 62% of American drivers are fearful of drunken drivers during the holidays.

By Mia Albaugh

Halloween begins the holiday season and it’s the time when students should begin to stay alert about the dangers of driving under the influence and underage drinking.

Attorney Matt Dolman said the holiday season, starting with Halloween and Thanksgiving, increases the chances of being involved in an alcohol-related accident. 

“From this date to the end of the year, the roads get more dangerous thanks to increased travel,” Dolman said.

According to the 2019 Holiday Drinking and Impaired Driving Report by, 62% of Americans say they are more fearful of drunk drivers than hazardous road conditions during the holiday season.

On average, every two minutes someone is injured in a drunken-driving crash. Every 51 minutes, someone is killed, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Fifty-75% of convicted drunken drivers drive with a suspended license.

Even though the pandemic has led to the shutdown of many public events, police Chief Shawn Varso of the Youngstown State University police department said the department is still on guard for intoxicated driving.

Varso myth-busted the “one drink per hour” rule and other ideas thought to sober up individuals. He said the only thing that can sober up an individual is time.

“Your blood alcohol content may continue to go up, depending on how much you drank, after you stop drinking,” he said. “Just because you stop at a certain point doesn’t mean your blood alcohol stops, it may go up for a while before it starts going down.”

According to the Ohio BMV, the suspension placed on a person convicted of driving while impaired, with no previous OVI suspensions in the last 10 years, is called the first offense operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs suspension.

The requirements to reinstate a suspended license under this is to serve a suspension as determined by the court, pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance that covers the length of the suspension.

For a first violation, the fine alone could cost up to $1,075 with a maximum of 3 days in jail, according to Skip Potter Law Office.

If a person has three or more DUIs in 10 years, they would receive a habitual use of alcohol/drugs suspension. According to the Ohio BMV, the license suspension will stand until the person completes a rehabilitation program, maintains six months of sobriety from the date of treatment program completion and submits a completed alcohol/drug reinstatement form to the BMV. Additionally, the fine could be up to $2,750.

A liquor law violation of consuming or possessing alcohol under the age of 21 is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty on a first offense is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

According to the Ohio BMV, to reinstate a license revoked based on a liquor law violation the person must serve a one-year suspension, pay a reinstatement fee and retake a complete driver license examination.

Instead of maximum sentences like jail time for drinking underage, in some cases, YSU will offer educational programs for students that have been cited, said Varso.

According to the YSU Crime Log, sometimes liquor law violations can end in arrests.

“If it’s to a point where someone can’t take care of themselves, the first thing we do is get them medical attention,” Varso said. “After the fact, we will go ahead and cite them for consuming alcohol underage, if they are underage.”

Varso said the charge of disorderly conduct would be given to a student in a similar situation that is over the legal drinking age of 21.