A Proposed Ohio DUI Law Hopes To Reduce Ohio Drunk Driving Accidents And Fatalities By 75 Percent
New Ohio DUI Law Could Help Reduce The Amount Of Ohio Drunk Driving Accidents And Fatalities By 75 Percent
A new bill aimed to reduced drunk driving accidents and fatalities would require first-time DUI offenders in Ohio to use an interlock ignition device on their vehicles and will be introduced into the legislator this fall. The Ohio bill, House Bill 469, would require first-time offenders of Ohio drunk driving use an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. Current law requires the use of an ignition interlock device if a person is convicted of a DUI twice within a 6-year period. The ignition device does not have to be installed unless a judge orders the installation of the device. An ignition interlock measures the blood-alcohol content of a driver before the vehicle will start. This bill was dubbed “Annie’s Law” after the death of 36-year-old Annie Rooney of Chillicothe who was killed in July of 2013 after a drunk driver, who was arrested for drunk driving three times and convicted of a DUI once, hit her with his car. [http://www.norwalkreflector.com/article/4714921, July 2014]
The main supporter of this Ohio drunk driving bill is the National Transportation Safety Board. According to the NTSB, the installation of an ignition device would be more reliable than the current method of license suspension, which many drivers ignore. If this new Ohio drunk driving bill is implemented into law, it would make Ohio the 23rd state to require the installation of an ignition interlock after the first DUI conviction. The NTSB has researched the use of interlock devices for over 20 years. According to the NTSB, the devices reduce recidivism among DUI offenders by up to 75 percent. In an installed vehicle, the device will not allow the ignition to turn unless the blood alcohol content of the driver is below .025, which is less than half of the legal driving limit.
The current proposed bill would replace the existing law of suspending the license of first-time DUI offenders for 15 days. Rather, the bill would require the installation of the interlock device on all DUI offender’s vehicles. Some individuals, however, believe that the law may harm individuals who are not convicted for alcohol abuse. A plea for a reduced charge would currently result in the same alcohol-related punishment for non-alcohol-related convictions. The device also costs defendants around $80 a month for as long as the device is installed in the vehicle, which may push more cases to a trial, which could cost the state additional funds.
The bill has been discussed among lawmakers for several months, but has yet to reach a final decision. According to The Norwalk Reflector, the bill may undergo a few changes before it is ready for voting. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, said about the bill, “Some members of the committee have concerns, and I’ve been meeting with them and will continue throughout the summer to arrive at a place where everybody is comfortable.” Butler and other supporters hope the bill will be ready to vote on by the fall session.
Current Ohio drunk driving accidents and fatalities and injuries from drunk driving in Ohio has slowly dropped over the past few years. In 2012, 35,629 drivers were arrested for drunken driving, with 385 alcohol-related fatalities. Over the past 10 years, Ohio has seen a total decline in drunken driving-related fatalities by 18.7 percent. However, if installing interlock ignition devices can reduce DUI-related fatalities in Ohio by 75 percent, over 288 lives would be saved each year. [
http://responsibility.org/state-facts/ohio, July 2014]
The attorneys at Wright & Schulte LLC urge anyone who has been a victim or has a loved one how is a victim of a drunk driving accidents to contact on of their personal injury attorneys at 1-937-222-7477 or visit www.yourohiolegalhelp.com to speak with an experienced Ohio DUI lawyer.