It might have felt like a failure to the people behind the bill, but when Annie’s law failed to pass in Ohio last year, that just renewed their determination to make it work.
Named for Annie Rooney, an attorney from Ohio who was struck and killed by a drunk driver, the bill proposed that ignition interlock devices would become mandatory on a first offense in Ohio. Right now operating vehicle impaired (OVI) or driving under the influence (DUI) laws only require first offenders to spend three days to six months in jail, pay fines up to $1,000, and lose their drivers license for 6 months to 3 years. They aren’t required to install an ignition interlock device, even with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15 like other states.
The original bill failed to make it to the house floor, but Representative Scherer, the person behind the original bill, has tweaked it and reintroduced it as House Bill 388. In this bill, ignition interlock devices are no longer mandatory for a first offense, but if people do decide to install them, there will be incentives including getting their drivers license back more quickly.
Although this bill passing would take away the mandatory requirement for first time offenders, what they hope to achieve with the new bill is an approach that relies on an offender’s common sense. If they have to choose between an outright driving ban and an ignition interlock, logically they should choose the ignition interlock.
This type of bill may be what is needed to pass a first offender ignition interlock law in Ohio, but other states have had success with mandatory ignition interlock laws. In all there are 25 states with an all offender law on the books, and according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), these states have seen a 30% reduction in alcohol-related deaths.
Let’s hope this is the ignition interlock bill that finally passes the house in Ohio.