Proposed law sparks debate in preventing drunk driving accidents

A proposed resolution now making its way through to the Ohio Statehouse takes a new view on how to prevent drunk drivers from taking the road. HB 469, "Annie's Law", is a new proposal sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving which would require the installation of an ignition interlock device into the vehicles of any person convicted of drunk driving. The ignition interlock device is essentially a Breathalyzer machine designed to disrupt the ignition mechanism of a car once it detects the odor of alcohol. The contraption is usually installed near the driver's seat and intended for the driver to blow into it before it will allow the car to start.

MADD says that the idea of mandating the IID is a better strategy for keeping drunk drivers off the road than the current practice. Presently, a first-time DUI offender typically has his or her driving privileges taken away for several months. A spokesperson for MADD's office in Columbus, Ohio, says that "Annie's Law" removes the possibility of a person drinking and driving. He compares the IID to an electronic probation officer that sits in the front seat with the driver at all times. The device doesn't care whether you're going to work or engaging in leisure activity. All it is concerned with is preventing drinking and driving.

The bill receives its name from an attorney from Chillicothe, Ohio, named Andy Rooney. Ronnie died last year after a drunk driver with the history of habitually driving while drunk plowed into the back of her SUV.

Victims of drunk driving accidents sometimes suffer catastrophic injuries such as becoming paralyzed, receiving permanent brain damage or other life-altering injuries. Victims injured by driver impaired by alcohol or drugs should know that the legal system provides them with a remedy to restore some balance to their lives through the process of civil litigation.

A person operating a motor vehicle in Ohio while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is almost always considered negligent in an accident. Inebriated drivers incur criminal and civil liabilities when they get behind the wheel. In addition to fines and jail time, the estate of a driver shown to be intoxicated at the time of an accident that has injured another person can be liable for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering of the injured party.

Source:, "DUI Debate Mothers Against Drunk Driving joins litigation over Ohio’s DUI enforcement policies" John Lasker, Jul. 22, 2014

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