Proposed ignition interlock device bill affects first-time DUI offenders in Ohio | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
November 24, 2014

A new bill that is currently pending would mandate all drunk driving offenders in Cleveland – and throughout Ohio – to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The bill is called Annie’s Law, and is soon expected to come up for vote in the Ohio Judiciary Committee.

Ohio’s Ignition Interlock Device Bill to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

Ohio Representatives Terry Johnson and Gary Scherer authored House Bill 469. They drafted the bill after the death of a local attorney, killed by a drunk motorist in 2013 as she rode her bicycle. In that case, investigations later found that the driver had several previous convictions for drunk driving on his record.

The bill would require that even first-time DUI offenders in the state of Ohio get an ignition interlock device installed. Motorists who have had their licenses suspended for drunk driving would have to install the device for six months, which is typically the duration of license suspension for drunk driving.

An ignition interlock device is a Breathalyzer-type device installed in an individual’s own car. A person is required to breathe into the device when getting into the car and before starting the ignition. The Breathalyzer will detect the amount of alcohol that is in the person’s breath.

If the alcohol content is above a predetermined limit, the device will shut the ignition down and prevent the person from driving the car. The ignition interlock device will also require the motors to provide random samples during the time the car is in operation to make sure that the person does not begin drinking after starting the vehicle.

Twenty-four other states currently require ignition interlock devices for first-time drunk driving offenders. If the bill becomes law so that DUI all offenders would have to use an ignition interlock, Ohio would join them. States that have an ignition interlock program for drunk driving offenders may take steps toward reducing the number of people injured in drunk driving accidents.

The ignition interlock devices are also beneficial to the offenders themselves because they allow the person to continue to drive after a DUI incident. Currently, Ohio requires an ignition interlock device for repeat offenders and the penalties for DUI also get steeper after subsequent offenses. If the drunk driver caused an accident with another person, he or she may be liable for any damages he caused.

Who is liable in a drunk driving accident in Ohio?

Alcohol-related car accidents can be devastating. Many of them are high-impact, high-speed accidents, and are often also accompanied by aggressive or negligent driving. Identifying the liable party, or parties in some cases, can help victims recover damages to which they’re entitled.

The intoxicated motorist is the first and most obvious liable party after an alcohol-related car accident. Breath test results and field sobriety test results as well as police reports that include officers’ observations of the intoxicated motorist at the scene of the accident, or the presence of alcohol containers in the car, can prove negligence.

However, it’s not just the drunk motorist who may be liable. Under Ohio’s dram shop laws, commercial establishments that served the person alcohol may also be liable. If staff at a bar or restaurant continue to serve alcohol to a person even after he has become visibly intoxicated, the establishment may be liable if the person goes driving and causes an accident. Discuss how dram shop liability will apply in your own case by consulting an attorney.

Call KNR after an Accident with a Drunk Driver

Want to know whether your accident with a drunk driver qualifies you to recover damages? Call an attorney at our firm to discuss your claim. Call 800-HURT-NOW or fill out our online contact form to speak with an attorney at the firm.