COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- There's a push at the Ohio Statehouse to get interlock devices installed on the vehicle of anyone convicted of driving impaired in the state. Right now the devices, which are small breathalysers that won't allow a vehicle to start if the driver's alcohol level is over a certain limit, are only required for repeat offenders.
Randy Young with Mothers Against Drunk Driving says most first time offenders aren't first time impaired drivers.
"National studies have shown that usually that person has been on the road and drinking and driving maybe about 88 times. This was just the first time they got caught," he said.
The bill, dubbed "Annie's Law," is named after Annie Rooney, a Ross County attorney who was killed by a drunk driver on July 4, 2013.
MADD's National President, Jan Withers, called passing Annie's Law their number one priority in Ohio.
In 2012, 385 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Ohio, that's about 34 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state.
"Annie's entire family is focused on preventing another family from going through this senseless, preventable, loss of life on our roads,” said Walt Rooney. “Drunk drivers kill hundreds of Ohioans every year just like Annie, and we must do more to stop them. Drunk driving is a public health crisis and we are focused on standing with our legislators to have Ohio join the over 20 states that have made ignition interlocks mandatory for first time offenders."
Currently, 20 states require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Drunk driving fatalities have dropped by 43 and 42 percent in Arizona and Oregon respectively. In West Virginia, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 33 percent as a result of the 2008 all-offender interlock law. Ignition interlocks have reduced drunk driving repeat offenses by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.