LISBON - Judges Carol Robb and Mark Frost of the Columbiana County Municipal Court have announced that recent changes in Ohio statutes have made it even easier for responsible drivers to get their right to drive restored.
In order to help implement some of these changes the judges have again teamed with representatives of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to hold a workshop that may enable suspended drivers to obtain a valid operator's license or to at least get limited driving privileges.
Judge Robb commented, "The Ohio Legislature has figured out that giving drivers who show they are insured and responsible the right to drive to their job or to school allows those drivers the ability to become productive citizens. These new laws allow us judges and the BMV to restore driving rights or grant limited privileges to even more persons who have been caught up in the technicalities of the system, while still allowing us to refuse privileges to those drivers who are dangerous."
"It used to be," said Judge Frost, "that drivers who were caught without insurance for the third time could not get privileges. But now they can, provided they have the necessary high risk insurance bond in place." He added, "Of course, if they let that insurance lapse, the suspension comes back immediately."
Other changes in the new law allow for drivers to get work privileges when they have been suspended for failing to pay child support. "In non-support cases, the granting of privileges it is up to the judge of the court where the support is due, but it seems logical that a person can more easily pay support if he or she can get to work. The BMV representatives at our seminar will be able to give step by step instructions to the applicants on how to get privileges regardless of which court or agency is involved," said Judge Robb.
The judges strongly emphasized that this program is not designed to put bad drivers back on the road, but rather to let responsible drivers get legal.
The workshop will offer participants a schedule of half hour appointments from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Municipal Court Building on Saltwell Road in Lisbon. It is not a seminar or class. It is an opportunity for each suspended driver to have a one-on-one appointment with a BMV worker who can walk that driver through all the necessary steps to get full or limited privileges.
The event is the latest in a series of similar workshops which have been held at the court as a public service since the summer of 2007, and the judges have been very pleased by the enthusiastic public response.
"We have been doing this about every six months, and it has really helped quite a few people," said Judge Frost. "We really appreciate the fact that the BMV has been working to shed their previous reputation of being too bureaucratic. Their workers try very hard to help everyone who attends."
Judge Robb added that because of the new laws, drivers who did not qualify in the past may want to come to check if they can now have a responsible path to driving.
"Times are tough," said Judge Frost. "People need a license to search for jobs, to go to job interviews, and to get to work once they have that job."
"We feel that by helping otherwise responsible drivers 'get legal' we save a lot of taxpayer money, both by preventing additional DUS cases and by allowing people to become self sustaining workers," said Judge Robb.
Because every one of the previous seminars has been "sold out," Judges Robb and Frost suggest that interested persons call the court at 330-424-5326 on a weekday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to secure an appointment.