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Frequently Asked Questions

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Disclaimer: These interpretations of the law may not be accurate due to ongoing updates to the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Codes.

How do I contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol in an emergency?

Dial #677. In a non-emergency, you can find the number for your local Patrol post, organized by county, here.

What do I do in the event of a highway breakdown?

  • Pull well off the roadway
  • Activate emergency flashers
  • Stay with your car and keep your safety belt on
  • Lock your doors but keep your windows cracked
  • Contact the Patrol for help at #677 or local police at 911

How do I request an Ohio State Highway Patrol shoulder patch?

Patch requests are provided only to law enforcement professionals representing a law enforcement agency in North America. Requests must be submitted on the agency’s official department letterhead to:

Ohio State Highway Patrol, 
Public Affairs Unit 
1970 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43223

Why do you hold sobriety checkpoints?

OSHP utilizes OVI checkpoints to deter impaired driving. They are often held late at night on weekends, when the number of drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol tends to be highest.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that before conducting a sobriety checkpoint, several criteria must be met. First, the location of the checkpoint must have a historically high rate of alcohol-related crashes. Second, the agency must follow specific guideline for notification that the checkpoint is to be conducted. Also, if traffic is too heavy to stop each car passing through the checkpoint, cars must be stopped according to a predetermined formula (e.g., every other car, every fourth car, etc.).

Are troopers under a quota for writing traffic tickets?

No, troopers are under no quotas.

While troopers are best known for writing traffic citations, they are responsible for a great variety of activity. Troopers assist over a half-million people a year, conduct motor vehicle inspections, respond to and investigate traffic crashes, and investigate other criminal activity. In addition, they issue approximately 400,000 warnings a year. There is no minimum level of activity for any category of activity.

Is traffic enforcement just another way to raise revenue?

No. The mission of the Patrol is to reduce crashes, deaths and injuries on the roadways of Ohio. Because of a policy of firm but fair enforcement, Ohio is consistently among the safest of the most populous states.

Ohio State Highway Patrol operations are funded primarily through license plates and driver license fees, so the Patrol receives no benefit from traffic fine money. While the state of Ohio receives some fine money, the majority is retained by the municipality and/or county in which the offense occurred.

How do I obtain a copy of a crash report?

If the crash was investigated by an officer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a crash report can be obtained online or by completing and mailing a request form along with the required fee.

If the crash was investigated by a member of a county or local agency, contact that agency to determine the proper procedure.

How do I schedule a trooper to speak at my school or civic event?

Troopers commonly deliver highway safety-related messages to school and civic groups. Contact your nearest State Highway Patrol Post to request a speaker for your event. Please note that while the Patrol attempts to fulfill all requests, operational responsibilities may limit availability from time to time.

How do I become an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper?

Contact a local Patrol post or the Patrol's Recruitment Office to submit an application. Prospective troopers are subjected to an extensive testing process before receiving final acceptance to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Once placed into an Academy Class, a cadet will undertake a seven-month training process which requires the individual to live at the Academy. Those that successfully complete all steps and the training process will be appointed to the rank of trooper.

For more questions about starting your career with OSHP, visit our recruitment website.

What does the Ohio State Highway Patrol do?

We protect life and property, promote traffic safety and provide professional public safety services with respect, compassion and unbiased professionalism. Find more information on our responsibilities here.

Where does the Ohio State Highway Patrol have jurisdiction?

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has jurisdiction on all public roadways within Ohio, as well as all state property (ORC 5503.02).

How do I file a complaint against a Highway Patrol employee?

You can initiate a claim against a Highway Patrol officer in one of three ways. First, you can call your nearest Patrol post. If you would rather, you may call the Patrol’s Administrative Investigation section, 614-466-6812, which is located at General Headquarters in Columbus. Finally, you may complete an Allegation of OSHP Employee Misconduct form, which you can download by clicking HERE.

Does the Ohio State Highway Patrol conduct fundraising activities?

No, the Patrol does not conduct fundraising. However, the Ohio Troopers Coalition, a professional association, and Troopers for a Safer Ohio, a legislative lobbying and public education organization, do conduct fundraising. Members of the Patrol may belong to both affiliates, but aside from that, there is no other connection between these organizations and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

More Impaired Driving Questions

What is the legal blood-alcohol limit in Ohio?

The presumptive BAC (blood-alcohol content) level for Ohioans aged 21 and over is .08. However, being under the presumptive 0.08 BAC level does not mean you are not impaired. Ohio Law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or both. Depending upon roadside sobriety checks, you may be charged with OVI with a BAC which measures below 0.08.

In other words, the presumptive BAC level is the level at which you are automatically considered to be “legally” impaired – it does not mean that you are not illegal if you are not at the 0.08 BAC level. As such, there is no absolute “legal limit” except “zero.”

Other presumptive BAC levels in Ohio are .04 BAC for commercial vehicle drivers and .02 BAC for drivers under the age of 21.

What are the penalties for impaired driving in Ohio?

Administrative license suspension for a refusal of the BAC test will last from one to five years, depending on the number of prior refusals. For a failure, the administrative license suspension will last from 90 days to three years, depending on the number of prior drunk driving convictions.

Those convicted of the offense are subject to the mandatory penalties of time in jail, a court-imposed driver license suspension, and a minimum of $200 to a maximum of $10,000 fine. Penalties are based upon the number of previous DUI convictions over a five-year period.

  • First offense: at least 72 consecutive hours in jail, court license suspension from six months to three years.
  • Second offense: at least 10 consecutive days in jail, court license suspension from one to five years.
  • Third offense: at least 30 consecutive days in jail, license suspension from one year to 10 years.
  • Fourth offense: at least 60 consecutive days in jail, court license suspension from three years to permanent revocation. All offenders must pay a $250 reinstatement fee for administrative license suspension (ALS).

To regain a suspended license, all OVI offenders must pay a $250 reinstatement fee and show proof of a policy for liability insurance or bond. Repeat offenders will be required to file proof of liability coverage and maintain that coverage for three years.

Third and fourth time impaired driving offenders are also subject to having their vehicle immobilized or forfeited. A vehicle owner who knowingly allows someone whose license is suspended to operate their vehicle may also be subject to these penalties.

Motorists who are convicted of vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide and are judged to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offense will, in addition to other penalties, suffer permanent loss of driving privileges.

How many drinks can I consume before becoming impaired?

There is no reliable means to predict how many alcoholic beverages an individual can consume before becoming impaired.

In past years, various entities have published charts which outline the blood-alcohol content (BAC) you will attain if you weigh X pounds and consume X drinks. However, these charts only consider two variables – number of drinks and body weight. Actually, there are many more variables which must be considered, so a generalized estimate as to level of intoxication or potential BAC would be very unreliable.

How do troopers test suspected impaired drivers?

When a trooper observes a suspected impaired driver, s/he will stop the car for observed traffic offenses and make personal contact with the driver. If the officer detects possible impairment once contacting the driver, divided-attention sobriety tests will be conducted. Among these are:

  • the heel-toe walk
  • the one-leg stand
  • the “Gaze Test” which traces involuntary eye movements.

In addition, the trooper will observe how well the driver can understand and respond to questions and follow instructions.

If, after conducting these tests, the officer detects impairment, an arrest is made and the suspect is taken into custody for a formal BAC test.

More Speed Questions

Why enforce speed?

Excessive speed is consistently a leading contributing factor in serious crashes. Since the Patrol’s primary mission is to reduce crashes and the accompanying death and injuries, speed enforcement is imperative.

How do Ohio troopers measure speed?

Trooper can measure speed by “pacing” vehicles (following them and observing the speed), with measuring devices (such as radar and laser), and from the air.

Is airborne speed enforcement hearsay evidence?

No, Patrol pilots who witness the offenses are also troopers. Pilots determine a motorist’s speed using markers in designated enforcement zones. They relay information on speeding or vehicles driving in an aggressive manner to troopers on the ground, who then make traffic stops.

How fast can I go without getting a speeding ticket?

You may be issued a traffic citation for any speed over the speed limit.

What do I do if I lost my Ohio speeding citation?

In Ohio, citations are issued through specific court jurisdictions and you will need to contact the court in order to resolve the issue. Since you likely don’t know the court because the citation is lost, you will have to contact the Patrol Post that issued the citation and have them provide you with contact information for the court. Please let us know where you were issued the citation, and hopefully we can direct you to the correct post.

More Enforcement Questions

Where can I access Ohio laws online?

Find the Ohio Revised Code online HERE.

Is there a law against road rage?

Road rage is not a specific offense in Ohio Law – the term developed as slang for emotion-based, reckless, aggressive and intimidating driving. There is no specific offense in Ohio Law entitled “Road Rage,” but the actions labeled “road rage” are specific offenses. Among these are: menacing; reckless operation, impeding, and assault, to name a few.

Isn't wearing a safety belt a personal decision which affects only me?

The decision to wear a safety belt affects many people.

First, the consequences of not wearing a safety belt can greatly affect your family and loved ones. How would it affect YOU if a loved one was killed, disabled or seriously injured as a result of not buckling up?

Second, it is your responsibility to maintain control of your vehicle. It is not uncommon for a car to continue moving after a crash, and safety belts are your best chance of remaining able to safely steer and/or stop your car before it strikes another person or vehicle.

Finally, the cost of not wearing a safety belt is borne by all who pay insurance premiums. A crash in which a safety belted driver might receive only bumps and bruises might result a costly hospital stay for the unbelted driver. That cost is spread across the insurance premiums of ALL drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency estimates Ohioans would save over $1 billion a year if another 10 percent of drivers would wear safety belts.

Won't a safety belt trap me in my car if it catches on fire or goes into water?

These are rare situations. However, should this occur, your best chance of survival is remaining conscious so you can escape. If you sustain heavy injuries or are rendered unconscious, your chances of escape will depend upon whether or not someone is there (and able) to save you. Wearing your safety belt greatly reduces your chance of sustaining heavy injuries and greatly increases your chances of escaping and surviving.

Why don’t troopers concentrate on “serious” crimes instead of traffic offenses?

Crime-fighting is designed to protect citizens from threats to life, limb and property. Traffic crashes, though largely preventable, claim twice as many lives each year as murders. In America in 1996, a person was murdered (on the average) every 27 minutes, while a life was lost in a traffic crash every 13 minutes. And while there was an aggravated assault every 31 seconds, there was also a crash-related injury every nine seconds.

Nobody expects to die in a traffic crash, but thousands do each year. Since traffic crashes can be (and are) prevented by fair and firm traffic enforcement, the enforcement of these laws has a significant effect upon society.

How do I obtain a criminal background check in Ohio?

Criminal background checks are conducted either by county sheriff’s offices or through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I). Contact BCI&I at 740-845-2000.

More Vehicle Questions

Where can I find information about my driver license or motor vehicle title?

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides a variety of information.

How do I schedule a salvage inspection?

Schedule a salvage inspection HERE.

What percent can windows be tinted on the vehicle?

Window tint on Ohio-registered vehicles must allow 50 percent light transmittance on the rear and side windows and 70 percent transmittance on the windshield (Ohio Administrative Code 4501-41-03). In other words, the tint cannot be darker than 50 percent on the side and back, and 30 percent on the windshield.

Light transmittance of 50 percent does not apply on the windows behind the driver if there are outside left and right side mirrors. Remember, auto glass is slightly tinted from the factory and will make the tint you apply to your windows darker than advertised by the tint manufacturer.

What is the maximum lift height? And how do you measure it?

Specifications for bumper heights are covered in section 4501-43-04 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Maximum bumper heights shall be determined by the weight category of Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The height is measured from the ground to the bottom of the bumper or frame rail.

What colors and types of neon lights (under body, in-car, etc.) are legal?

Lights must not rotate, oscillate, or flash, but state law does not prohibit the use of colored neon lights under your car as long as they do not interfere or blind other drivers.

Ohio Revised Code, section 4513.17 prohibits flashing lights on motor vehicles with the exception of emergency vehicles, turn signals, and hazard flashers.

As long as the neon lights are less than 300 candle power they are not in violation of any state law. If the lights are more than 300 candle power they must be directed to strike the pavement the vehicle sets upon at a distance of no more than 75 feet. The lights cannot exceed 500 candle power.
State law requires a white light to illuminate the rear license plate.

What is involved in a motor vehicle inspection?

A motor vehicle inspection is a very brief check. The inspector checks to assure all lights, signals, and safety equipment is installed and in working order. Some of these items include: Turn signals, stop lights, head lights, horn, safety belts, emergency brake, and mirrors. In addition, equipment violations such as missing bumpers, cracked windshields and poor tires will result in failing an inspection.

How can I purchase surplus Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles or equipment?

All surplus OSHP equipment, including automobiles, is released to the Department of Administrative Services, Division of State and Federal Surplus Property for re-sale. Call 614-466-6570 for information on becoming a bidder, or visit their website.

Am I required to have automobile insurance when I drive?

Yes, in Ohio it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other financial responsibility proof (FR Proof). It is also illegal for any motor vehicle owner to allow anyone else to drive the owner’s vehicle without FR Proof. Click HERE for more information.

More Recruitment Questions

I am already a police officer. Do I still have to attend the Patrol Academy to become a trooper?

Yes, all Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers are required to successfully complete the Patrol’s Academy training. For more questions about starting your career with OSHP, visit the recruitment website.

How do I become an Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary Officer?

For more questions about joining the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary, visit the recruitment website.

What other job opportunities are available?

There are a wide variety of support positions within the Patrol. Included in these are: dispatchers, driver examiners, motor vehicle inspectors, load limit inspectors, motor carrier enforcement officers, and police officers. In addition, there are a number of civilian positions encompassing nearly every educational discipline.

To check current employment opportunities within the Patrol and other areas of state government, visit the State of Ohio Job Search.

Contact Us

Call #677 or click HERE to email.

Physical Location & Certified Mail Address
Ohio State Highway Patrol
1970 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223

Mailing Address
Ohio State Highway Patrol
PO Box 182074
Columbus, Ohio 43218-2074

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