After a long wait, Ohio is finally taking steps to strengthen drunk driving laws. Yesterday, the Ohio Senate passed a law requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk driving offenders (OVI). Lawmakers named the bill “Annie’s Law” in memory of Annie Rooney, a 36-year-old Ohio woman, who died in a drunk driving crash in 2013. Rooney was struck on the 4th of July by a repeat drunk driving offender with a blood alcohol content (BAC) more than twice the legal limit.
Rooney’s family started lobbying to strengthen drunk driving laws immediately following Annie’s tragic death. After more than three years, they are finally gaining some closure.
“This is not a rare occurrence,” Walt Rooney, Annie’s brother said. “These are 100 percent preventable crimes and they’re killing 400 to 500 Ohioans every single year.” (wlwt.com)
The bill is now with Ohio Governor John Kasich. Gov. Kasich is scheduled to sign the bill into law by the end of this year.
“This is a public health policy. This isn’t shaming. This isn’t punitive,” Rooney said. “This is to protect all of us, who are driving to the store, driving our kids to school and want the person in the lane opposite you not to be drunk.”
Prior to Annie’s Law, OVI offenders had their driver’s license suspended. Research is consistent in showing that 50-75% of convicted drunk drivers on a suspended license continue driving anyways. (MADD)
Annie’s Law will allow drunk driving offenders to regain driving privileges immediately following the installation of an ignition interlock device. Currently, 26 states require ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders.
States requiring ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders have seen dramatic decreases in drunk driving deaths when compared to the national average. Read more about the effectiveness of ignition interlock devices.