Columbus Police Department

Security Tips

automobile graphic

Protect You & Your Vehicle

  • Park in well-lit, busy areas. Avoid leaving your vehicle in unattended parking lots for long periods of time.
  • Always use your emergency brake when parking. In addition to ensuring safety, using the emergency brake makes your car harder to tow.
  • When buying a car, ask about anti-theft options such as steering column locks, alarms, switches that interrupt the fuel or electronic system, and locks for tape desks, batteries and gas tanks. Many insurance companies offer reduced rates to owners who install security devices.
  • Ask about installing a vehicle tracking system.
  • Keep your car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and a complete description in a safe place at home. Click here for a Car Information Form. Since 1969, the federal government has required manufactures to engrave a unique number, the VIN, on all passenger cars in one visible and several hidden locations. VINs of stolen cars are registered with the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
  • If you are a victim of theft or vandalism immediately contact the Columbus Police Department at 911.

Tips for Other Modes of Transportation

  • Park out of sight in a garage or basement, or use a cover.
  • Engrave with an Operation Identification number recommended by local law enforcement.
  • Lock all bicycles with a casehardened chain or cable and lock, winding the cable through the frame and both wheels and then around a fixed object.
  • Many specialized vehicles don't have VINs and should be marked with another ID number, such as a driver's license.
  • Use secured "toppers" or toolboxes for your truck. Don't assume a thief can't lift a box because it's heavy.

Avoid Buying a Stolen Vehicle

  • Be suspicious of any deal that sounds too good to be true.
  • Verify that the VIN plate is intact and check it against the VIN on the ownership documents.
  • Make sure the federal safety inspection sticker, located on the driver's door or doorjamb, is securely in place and none of the numbers appear to be tampered with.
  • Ask the seller about the vehicle's history and past financing and insurance. Verify this information with the bank or insurance company.
  • Be wary when purchasing used auto parts-you could be patronizing a "chop shop" where stolen goods are sold and indirectly encouraging auto theft.

Bicycle Safety

Bike riding is a lot of fun... great exercise and economical transportation. But remember, you're not alone on the road. Other bike riders, pedestrians and motorists present potential risks for accidents. This page will help you avoid accidents by keeping you focused on safety and common sense in the street.

Use Your Head

The smart way to use your head, while riding a bike, is to wear a safety helmet. Make sure it fits correctly. If it's too loose it won't protect you. You can make it nice and snug with adjusting pads.

bicycle clipart with parts numbered

Keep Your Bike Safe

The following checklist consist of 10 key points to consider for safe operation of your bike (refer to bike picture for location):

  1. Keep seat adjusted correctly, so that knee flexes slightly when pedal is at lowest point.
  2. Make sure seat is solid and locked tight.
  3. Be sure tires are properly inflated and spokes are tight and straight.
  4. Check brakes for even braking power and safe braking distance.
  5. Sprocket and chain must be oiled and tight.
  6. Chain guard protects against catching pant legs or other loose clothing in chain.
  7. Pedals must be secure and not wobble.
  8. Handle bar should have a horn and a rear view mirror.
  9. Headlight should be mounted on front fender or handlebars.
  10. Be sure to install reflectors on rear of bike and on spokes.
bicycle clipart safety

Be Visible!

Try not to ride in the dark. But if you must, remember the easier it is for motorists to see you, the safer you will be. Wear bright, light colored clothing and put the proper lights and reflectors on your bike (refer to picture for location)...

  1. Headlight
  2. Pedal Reflectors
  3. Spoke Reflectors, front and back.
  4. Red rear reflector
  5. Reflective tape on clothing and helmet

Rules of the Road

Remember your bike is a vehicle on the road and is subject to traffic laws and rules of safe conduct. Below are a few simple rules to keep in mind:

  • While riding in the street, go in the same direction as traffic, but stay far over to the right side of the road.
  • Use proper hand signals so motorists will know when and where you will stop or turn.
  • Stop at every red light, just like a car. Always look to the right, left, and right again before proceeding into an intersection.
  • Sidesaddle carriers or a backpack is a safer way to carry stuff than in a handle bar basket because there's no chance that your view will be obstructed.

Using Hand Signals

Be sure you know how to make the proper signals for turning to the left, the right, and for stopping. All signals are made with the left hand. Below are the correct ways to signal:

clipart bike hand signals

Automobile Safety, DUI Information

Illegal Levels

A blood-alcohol content of 0.02% or greater is considered a DUI for any driver under the age of 21. For drivers 21 years old and older, a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or greater is considered a DUI.

Punishments for DUI Convictions

For the FIRST offense: (under 0.08%)

  • Suspension of driver's license for 6 months with no provision for a limited permit or early reinstatement.
  • No nolo contendere plea. A nolo contendere plea is a defendant neither admits nor denies that they committed a crime, but agrees to a punishment as if guilty.
  • Attendance at a DUI school.
  • Must re-take driver's test.
  • At least 20 hours of community service, to begin within 60 days of sentencing.
  • Loss of ability to obtain next Graduated License level for 12 months.

For the FIRST offense: (0.08% or more)

Punishments are the same as for the first offense under 0.08% except:
  • Mandatory jail term not less than 24 hours.
  • Community service is not less than 40 hours.
  • Suspension of license for 12 months, with no re-instatement prior to the end of the suspension period.

For the SECOND offense:

Punishments are the same as for the first offense except:
  • Suspension of driver's license for a minimum of 18 months, with a provision of ignition interlock permit after 12 months.
  • Community service is not less than 30 days.
  • Clinical evaluation and treatment if indicated.
  • Mandatory jail term is not less than 72 hours.
  • The court will order a person convicted of a 2nd and subsequent DUI to surrender all license plates registered in his or her name to the court.

If the offender is under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court due to age, the sentence will be or be placed in the Sheriff's custody. Regardless of age, the Judge will still have the discretion to sentence the driver for a misdemeanor, with graduated punishment, depending on the number of prior offenses. In all cases, the offender will be separated from the main prison population.

Punishments for Drivers 21 and Older

  • The nolo contendere plea for DUI charges will be treated as a conviction for all drivers.
  • May be ordered to serve a period of imprisonment of up to 12 months.
  • May be subject to a $1,000 fine for the first offense.
  • Upon a second DUI conviction, the offender will face a mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, will have to complete a substance abuse treatment program at the offender's expense.
  • The court will order a person convicted of a 2nd or subsequent DUI to have an ignition interlock device attached to his or her vehicle(s).
  • The court will order a person convicted of a 2nd or subsequent DUI to surrender all license plates registered in his or her name to the court.
  • There are provisions for the offender to obtain a license tag for any car used by other family members, and the existence of the special tag will not be probable cause for a traffic stop, search of the vehicle or seizure.
Buckle Up!
Slow Down!
Don't Drink & Drive!
Your Life Depends on It!

School Attendance & Driving

School Attendance Required

No individual under the age of 18 can obtain a driver's license or instruction permit unless he or she is attending a public school, a private school or is enrolled in home schooling authorized by law; or has graduated from high school, received a certificate of high school completion; or has completed his or her secondary education and is enrolled in a post-secondary school.

If a student under 18 drops out of school and has remained out of school for 10 days, or has more than 10 school days of unexcused absences in any semester or combination of two consecutive quarters, notice will be given by the school to the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety. The student's driver's license will then be suspended for one year or until their 18th birthday.

School / Suspension

A student's driver's license will be suspended for one year or until their 18th birthday if the student is suspended from school for any one of the following offenses:

  • Threatening, striking or causing bodily harm to a teacher or other school personnel.
  • Possession or sale of drugs or alcohol on school grounds.
  • Possession or use of a weapon on school grounds.
  • Any sexual offense prohibited under Chapter 6 of Title 16.
  • Causing substantial physical or visible bodily harm to or seriously disfiguring another person, including another student.

Temporary Driving Permit

A student can obtain a temporary driving permit from the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety to drive to and from work with a suspended license, if he or she has demonstrated the need for the permit. The permit would only be granted if the driver's license has been suspended for a school-related infraction or for dropping out of school.

Teenage & Adult driving Responsibility Act

What is the Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA)?

The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act addresses the leading killer of our young people - traffic crashes. The law significantly changes the way young motorists earn and maintain the privilege of driving by providing a controlled means for new drivers to gain experience and by reducing high-risk driving situations. While the law does focus on young drivers, it also contains important provisions that affect drivers over 21, particularly in the area of DUI prevention and enforcement.

Earning a Driver's License

Step 1: Instruction Permit

This is granted to 15 year-olds upon passage of a written examination. While driving, the permit holder must be accompanied by a fully licensed adult 21 years of age or older.

Step 2: Intermediate License

This license is granted to drivers between 16 and 18 years of age who have held an Instruction Permit for 12 months and passed a comprehensive on road driving test. The Intermediate License has the following restrictions:

  • No driving between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. "No Exceptions"
  • For the first 6 months, any passengers must be immediate family members.
  • Anyone who obtains an initial Class D license must have completed:
    1. An approved driver education course and a cumulative total of at least 20 hours of supervised driving (6 hours of which were at night). OR...
    2. A cumulative total of at least 40 hours of supervised driving (6 hours of which were at night).

Special Notes:

  • The supervised driving requirement also applies to an initial Class C license applicant, who has not previously been issued a Class D license.
  • Visit the GOHS Website (www.gahighwaysafety.org) for a copy of a Teen Driver/Parent Agreement. Click here for a Supervised Driving Log (in .pdf format).

Step 3: Full License

For drivers 18 years of age or older who hold a Class D license, this license is granted if there have been no major traffic convictions for the previous 12 months. License must be upgraded to Class C or you will be held to Class D restrictions regardless of your age.

TADRA Violations

A driver can only move to the next level if he or she has completed 12 consecutive months without a conviction for any of the following:

  • DUI
  • Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
  • Racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit and run
  • Any moving violation for which four or more points are assessable

Suspension of License

If a driver under the age of 21 is convicted for any of the following offenses, their license will be suspended for 6 months (1st offense) or 12 months (2nd offense).

  • Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
  • Racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit and Run
  • Purchase of an alcoholic beverage
  • Misrepresenting age for the purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage
  • Misrepresenting identity or using false identification for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage
  • Any moving violation for which four or more points are assessable
  • For drivers under age 18, an accumulation of four or more points in a 12-month period will also result in a suspension
  • A first conviction for DUI in which the driver's blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or higher will result in a 12-month suspension.