Wednesday, January 4, 2017 was a monumental day for Ohio residents. This was the day that a hard fought 3.5-year battle to strengthen drunk driving laws was finally won. On this day, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill, referred to as Annie’s Law, which will work to decrease drunk driving. This law will undoubtedly save lives.
It started on July 4, 2013. 36-year-old Ohio attorney Annie Rooney’s SUV was struck by a drunk driver while she was heading home from borrowing a friend’s bike for an upcoming race. The driver was a repeat drunk driving offender and Annie was killed in the crash. Rooney’s family, devastated by the loss of their sister, daughter and friend, began advocating for stronger drunk driving laws immediately following her death.
They centered their efforts around increasing the use of ignition interlock devices as a way to help prevent repeat OVI offenders from getting back on the road while intoxicated. Research is consistent in showing a direct correlation between ignition interlock devices and a decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities. According to MADD, states that require ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders have seen reductions in drunken driving deaths of up to 50%.
To the Rooney family and the sponsors of the bill, it was a cut and dry proposal that made all the sense in the world.
Unfortunately, the first attempt to pass the bill failed. U.S. Rep. Gary Sherer, co-sponsor of the Bill, worked tirelessly to negotiate tweaks to get the Bill passed.
“I didn’t know Annie personally, but through her friends and her wonderful family, I feel as if I do,” Scherer said in an article published by the Chillicothe Gazette. “I am pleased to help them make something positive come out of Annie’s tragedy. This law will save lives, and what a tribute to the life of Annie Rooney that is.”
The new law will take effect April 4th and will incentivize judges and offenders to use ignition interlock devices after all drunk driving convictions by allowing unlimited driving privileges with the installation of one in their vehicle. In addition, the time period that is examined for additional penalties for repeat offenders will be increased from six years to ten.
The law will also allow judges to cut suspension periods in half if they order their defendant to install an ignition interlock device following their conviction.
Intoxalock is proud to support Annie’s Law and looks forward to working to make Ohio roads safer from drunk drivers. With over 50 installation locations in Ohio, Intoxalock will help make the interlock process easy and convenient for all Ohio residents. To speak to a representative about the OVI process in Ohio and to learn more about how Intoxalock can help, call us today at (833) 623-0200.