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A proposed Ohio law requiring OVI offenders to pass a Breathalyzer before driving is moving forward.
The state Senate Tuesday unanimously approved Annie’s Law.
Lawmakers named the bill after Annie Rooney, who died in a drunken driving crash on the Fourth of July 2013.
The driver who hit Rooney was a repeat offender, with a blood alcohol content more than two times the legal limit.
“I think the easy thing to do when a tragedy occurs is to grieve and crawl into a hole. This family, and so many courageous other ones, have decided that they’re going to take that tragedy and try to help other people,” Sen. Jay Hottinger, R-District 31, said.
Annie’s Law will put ignition interlocks in the cars of first-time OVI offenders.
Rooney’s family and the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving were present for Tuesday’s state Senate hearing.
“Annie was our Annie, but everybody has an Annie,” her brother, Walt Rooney said. “This law isn’t for my sister. It’s too late for her, but what we feel for Annie is exactly what you feel for your loved ones.”
Rooney told WLWT his sister was a successful Ross County prosecuting attorney who convicted offenders in several drunken driving cases.
“This is not a rare occurrence,” Rooney said. “These are 100 percent preventable crimes and they’re killing 400 to 500 Ohioans every single year.”
Rooney wants the ignition interlock on every car on the road and is confident requiring it for first-time OVI offenders will save lives.
“This is a public health policy. This isn’t shaming. This isn’t punitive,” Rooney said. “This is to protect all of us, who are driving to the store, driving our kids to school and want the person in the lane opposite you not to be drunk.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is scheduled to sign the bill into law by the end of the year.