Push is on in Ohio for more stringent DWI/DUI exactions

Ohio judges currently command considerable discretion regarding the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle of any motorist convicted of drunk driving.

State statutory law provides that a court may require a driver to install such a device following an initial or second DWI/DUI conviction.

The key word there is "may," given that a judge might alternatively decide upon a different course of action. An interlock device is required following a third and subsequent offense.

There is certainly no scarcity of state residents seeking to impose a harsher requirement, that is, required installation following even a first DUI offense.

Their motivation for wanting a more stringent requirement is certainly understandable, given relevant statistics addressing drunk driving in the state.

Reportedly, 385 people died in Ohio in 2012 in accidents where drunk driving was a contributing factor.

And many more, obviously, survived with serious and life-long injuries.

Proponents of Ohio House Bill 469, informally called "Annie's Law" -- Annie Rooney was a young attorney who died last year in an accident involving a drunk motorist -- are among those touting the benefits of a first-time IID law. The national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving states that IID laws generally bring about materially reduced DUI fatality rates in states where they are enacted.

A company that makes IIDs recently demonstrated its product to legislators. Interlock devices can be configured so a vehicle simply will not start if a motorist other than the convicted DUI offender blows into them. Moreover, select units feature facial recognition via a mounted on-board camera.

Drunk driving indeed takes a heavy toll in Ohio. A person harmed by a drunk driver has legal rights and a corresponding remedy that provides for medical expenses, lost work time and other damages. A proven DUI accident lawyer can provide further information.

Source: ABC NewsNet5, "Drunk driving: Big proposals at the state level and small ideas are trying to keep you safer," Jonathan Walsh, March 26, 2014

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