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Will this drunk driving law make Ohio roads safer?

Neighboring states with similar laws have seen their drunk driving-caused deaths decrease by 50 percent. Legislators hope that Ohio's new law -- affectionately called "Annie's Law" -- will do the same.

Did you lose a loved one in a drunk driving crash? Perhaps he or she was the passenger in a drunk driver's car. Or, perhaps your loved one was riding in a car that got hit by a drunk driver. If a drunk driving tragedy happened to you and your family, you may be happy to hear about Annie's Law.

The new operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) legislation went into effect last month. The lawmakers who created it, and the Ohio citizens who supported it, have very high hopes.

More about Annie's Law

Lawmakers named the new law after Annie Rooney, who died in Ross County four years ago after a repeat drunk driver struck and killed her. The law strives to recognize the fact that revoking a drivers' license from a convicted drunk driver will not necessarily prevent him or her from getting behind the wheel.

In fact, the law does everything it can to put convicted drunk drivers back on the road as quickly as possible. However, it requires the use of breathalyzer interlock devices in the vehicles of convicted offenders.

Here are the specifics: For first-time offenders, the law reduces a former 13-month-long drivers' license suspension by half. At that point, drivers can get their licenses reinstated if they install a breathalyzer interlock device, which disables their vehicles if it detects even the slightest amount of alcohol on their breath.

Judges further have the ability review ten years of driving history -- instead of the previous six years -- when making their determinations on drunk driving cases.

Lawmakers, law enforcement officers and citizens hopeful

A sergeant from the Ohio State Highway Patrol is hopeful that the new legislation will help reduce instances of drunk driving, and thereby lower Ohio's OVI-related fatality statistics. Currently, almost 40 percent of traffic deaths are OVI-related in our state.

Approximately 300 drunk driving fatalities happen each year in our state. If drivers had been more responsible in these cases, these people would probably still be alive.

If you have lost a close relative in a drunk driving crash, you may want to discuss the circumstances of your relative's accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case to determine if you and your family have viable claims to seek wrongful death damages in Ohio civil court.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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