Ohio, Pennsylvania Consider New DWI Legislation
Ohio and Pennsylvania legislators are poised to act on proposed legislation that would significantly expand the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for drunk drivers. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) supports the passage of these bills as a way to reduce drunk driving.
In Ohio, House Bill 469 (a.k.a Annie’s Law), sponsored by Reps. @GaryScherer (R-District 92) and Terry Johnson (R-District 90) and supported by a broad coalition would allow courts to order a first-offender to have limited driving privileges if they install an IID immediately after trial and requires interlocks for all repeat drunk driving (OVI) offenders. The bill will likely be heard in the Ohio House Judiciary Committee before the end of September.
The solutions to stop drunk driving work best in combination, not in isolation. The long-term goal is to ensure people don’t drive drunk. If they do, sentences must be designed to prevent repeat offenses. All too often DWI offenders fail to comply with their sentence conditions and drive on suspended licenses, posing a continued threat on our roadways. Research has shown that between 50-77% of repeat offenders (Voas et al., 2002) and 30-88% of first time offenders (McCartt et all., 2002) will continue to drive while under suspension/revocation. If communities, the criminal justice system, and legislatures begin to apply a comprehensive approach to this issue, significant gains in the fight against drunk driving will be achieved.
As part of a comprehensive solution to eliminate drunk driving, Responsibility.org supports the mandatory and effective use of IIDs for all convicted DWI offenders. Effective use of IIDs requires proper assessment and treatment, supervision, and verification of installation for all offenders ordered to install the device.
Evidence shows IIDs are highly effective in preventing alcohol-impaired driving for both hardcore offenders and first-time offenders while they are installed with an average reduction in recidivism of 64% (Willis et al., 2005). However, IIDs must be installed in order to be effective and the current installation rate in most states is approximately 20 percent.
Responsibility.org believes actions must be taken to improve ignition interlock installation rates and to expand treatment opportunities in conjunction with interlock program participation. Research shows that referral to and participation in appropriate treatment interventions are particularly important for hardcore drunk drivers as this population of offenders is historically resistant to behavior change. Responsibility.org is funding the development of a computerized and standardized assessment tool that will be available free of charge in 2016 to help identify treatment needs among DWI offenders.