Will All Drunk Drivers Be Subject to Ignition Breathalyzers?


Judges in Ohio have the ability to order ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for any drunk driving offender, but Ohio lawmakers recently proposed a bill that would make these in-car breathalyzers mandatory for all DUI offenders. Although judges can order IIDs for any drunk driving offender, it is unusual for them to be applied to first time or low-level offenders.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Terry Johnson, backs the bill with statistics that IIDs reduce drunk driving re-arrest rates by 67%. If this bill is signed into law, it will replace a current Ohio law applying to first-time DUI offenders preventing the arrestee from driving for 15 days before obtaining limited driving privileges.

The bill was also amended last week to add IID requirements for DUI arrestees convicted of lesser crimes such as reckless driving.

How the Interlock Device System Would Work

Under this new law, anyone convicted of driving under the influence (or arrested for DUI but convicted of a lesser offense) would be ordered by a judge to install an interlock device. These devices are leased from third party companies for about $70 at the offender's sole cost. The offender must also pay for installation, $150, and a monthly monitoring fee of $60-$90. Anyone ordered to install an interlock device who cannot afford it may be able to receive aid from the county.

About 5,000 Ohio residents are ordered to install these ignition breathalyzers every year. These devices require a breath sample before the car will start. If the device detects any alcohol content, then the vehicle will not start.

Ohio isn't the only state to propose ignition breathalyzers. Twenty other states have implemented laws requiring IIDs for all DUI offenders

Annie's Law

This new ignition interlock bill has been nicknamed "Annie's Law" in memory of a woman killed last year by a drunk driver. Annie was one of 341 people killed by drunk drivers in 2013 in Ohio.