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