Ohio Enforces New Law Aiming to Stop Repeat Drunk Drivers


A new law in Dayton, Ohio was designed to help protect the public from repeat drunk drivers. The new law is called Annie’s Law and it went into effect on Tuesday.

This new law not only geared toward repeat offenders, it also increases penalties for first time offenders.

Four years ago in Ross County Annie Rooney was hit and killed by a repeat drunk driver and so the new law bears her name in her memory.

There is an option of an interlock device which is a breathalyzer system that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. According to the new law installing a interlock device will reduce a 13 month license suspension by half for first time offenders.

First time operating vehicle impaired offenders will have a an increase of the mandatory minimum driver’s license suspensions. The drivers license suspension would increase the suspension from six months to one year.

Another change will occur during the offenders sentencing. The judge will now look at 10 years worth of driving records instead of the usual 6 years.

In 2012 Sophie Kerrigan died in a car crash, and her mother Janet Carpenter said she is happy to see the new law go into effect and hopes it will help reduce drunk driving incidents.

Carpenter said losing someone due to a drunk driving accident is life altering and everyone is vulnerable to it.

“You will never have that same life again,” said Carpenter. “You will never have the extreme peace — at least that I used to — knowing my kids were safe, going to school. They were productive individuals. You don’t have that anymore.”

Her biggest worry she said was wondering who would be the next victim.

“It’s not, ‘Oh it won’t happen.’ It’s scary. Who are you going to know who’s going to lose another child to that situation, another loved one.”

Last year operating a vehicle impaired related deaths made up about 40 percent of traffic related deaths in the state of Ohio according to Sgt. Chris Colbert of Dayton’s Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“On average, there’s between high 900 to 1,200 people a year killed in fatal crashes,” said Sgt. Chris Colbert. “You take away a third of that, that’s 300 people. That is significant. Every person that is killed is someone’s brother, son, mother, father, cousin. Those people are important to someone.”

Other states have seen a decrease in OVI deaths of about half since similar laws have gone into effect.


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