A large crowd of law enforcement officials from southwest Ohio met in Loveland for a special luncheon Thursday, April 16. Mothers Against Drunk Driving hosted the Third Annual Recognition and Top Cop Awards to honor outstanding efforts in the community to stop impaired driving.
The Top Cops were selected from nominations submitted by their departments with consideration on the number of drunk driving arrests, their work with victims, success of drunk driving convictions and outstanding work in public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking through work with their department or other community organizations.
“Today we recognize those who have had a positive impact on MADD’s ability to do our life-saving work for the community. We are determined to win the fight against drunk driving,” said MADD Chairman Lew Hollinger. “Volunteers within our communities have been lending support to our organization and they are helping to make MADD a powerful, believable and credible organization. There is a lot of work to be done and we will continue to work together to rid the roadways of impaired drivers.”
Trooper Pabin was transferred to the Batavia post in 2006. The nomination said since arriving at the post, he has demonstrated a strong desire to remove drunk drivers from the roadway. He developed skills very early in his career and has become a leader in OVI apprehensions.
In 2008, Trooper Pabin stopped almost 2,500 cars for various violations and removed 212 impaired drivers from the roadways.
Pabin received a plaque, a pin and a Top Cop license plate for his efforts.
According to Sergeant Kevin Long at the Batavia Post, the nomination was sent to MADD by Post Commander Randy McElfresh.
"Trooper Pabin is very aggressive in pursuing drunk drivers to keep them from Ohio roadways," said Long.
"Congratulations to all of you for your continued efforts to keep impaired drivers off our roadways," said Andrea Rehkamp, executive director of MADD of Southwest Ohio.
"Congratulations to all the Top Cops," said Brian Thomas of 55KRC. "You all have a heartfelt belief that you can make a difference and we thank you for your work and your service. You are making a difference. People need to become more aware of the issue of driving while impaired and MADD is helping to educate the public."
During the lunch meeting, law enforcement officials heard comments from agencies and individuals who are seeking to lower the number of traffic fatalities.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Richard Collins shared some data from a recent poll.
"In public opinion surveys, motorists rank being hit by a drunk driver as one of their top fears about driving," said Collins. "MADD and law enforcement officials take the crime of drunk driving seriously and this is what it is, a crime, that all too frequently results in tragic consequences."
He also added that the State of Ohio recorded the lowest traffic fatality rate in the history of Ohio in 2008 and credited law enforcement officials for their part in helping to lower that rate.
The Ohio Executive Director of MADD Doug Scoles, told the group that new technology is available to help.
"People keep drinking and driving because they can," said Scoles. "On the average, a drunk driver will drive drunk 87 times before they are arrested for DUI. MADD is partnering with car manufacturers to make a car that will not let an impaired driver drive."
American Family Insurance has developed the Teen Safe Driver Program to help teens make better choices while driving. According to Will Deaton, spokesman for American Family Insurance, technology is now available to record unsafe driving behavior. The Teen Safe Driver Program uses a small device placed behind the rearview mirror of your teen's vehicle. It captures the view out the front, and into the interior, of the vehicle but never saves any data unless activated by an erratic vehicle movement - such as extreme braking, cornering, and acceleration or if there is a collision. When the device is activated, it saves an event comprised of the previous 10 seconds and the following 10 seconds showing not only what happened but why it happened.
The event is transferred wirelessly to DriveCam's Event Analysis Center where the video is reviewed, scored and coaching tips are added. Parents and teens log in to a secure Web site to view the video and tips for safer driving. Teens are coached for improvement in problem areas, and also praised for good driving events.
"The results are dramatic and immediate," said Deaton. "On average, teens reduce the frequency and severity of high risk driving events by more than 70 percent in the first six weeks. Driver seatbelt use improves from less than 40 percent to an unprecedented 100 percent and passenger seatbelt rates increase dramatically, too."
For more information about MADD, contact Andrea Rehkamp at (513) 769-6800 or 1-877-721-6233.