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Ohio law would make ignition interlock devices mandatory for DUI

Drunk driving is an extremely reckless behavior that sadly isn't always an isolated incident in an offender's life. Accidents involving a drunk driver often result in serious or even fatal injuries for those caught up in the collision. Helping lower the recidivism rate for drunk driving is one way to help reduce DUI-related fatalities.

Interlock ignition devices are the tool that a new piece of legislation in Ohio hopes will facilitate this reduction in fatal accidents. Interlock ignition devices are tied into the vehicle's ignition system, preventing the vehicle from starting when the driver's BAC is above a pre-programmed limit.

The Center for Disease Control reported that data shows these devices decrease repeat-offenses by 67 percent.

Annie’s Law is the popular name for this legislation that would make these devices mandatory after a first offense DUI in Ohio instead of discretionary. In lesser offenses, requiring this device would be within the discretion of the court.

The popular name was chosen to memorialize the life of a young woman who died at the hands of a drunk driver this past July. The woman’s parents want to prevent other families from having to suffer the same loss that they did, for the same reasons. The goal is “to stop the killing and stop the dying,” said the victim’s father.

“We believe that this law is not a radical change,” said her father, but it could have some radical results. In fact, the family believes that it could, “just in the state of Ohio,” save anywhere from “50 to 100 lives a year.”

Should this preventative measure or any other fail to stop a reckless drunk driver from injuring others, the victims or their families may have a claim for compensation. A personal injury attorney can help ensure that the negligent party is held liable in a court of law.

Source: WBNS-10TV, “Annie’s Law Aims To Limit Drunk Driving Deaths In Ohio,” Chuck Strickler, March 4, 2014

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Russo, Rosalina & Co., LPA. is a family owned and managed general practice law firm