Ohio considers 'Annie's Law' to curb drunk driving

COLUMBUS -- There might be new a new punishment for anyone caught driving drunk in Ohio.

Ohio House Bill 469, better known as Annie's Law, would require first time offenders to use an ignition interlock device. It's basically a small Breathalyzer test attached to the car's ignition, meaning the car won't start if the driver is intoxicated.

Those in favor of the law, like Krystal Foster, say this is the key to saving lives.

It was just a few days before Christmas when a drunk driver came out of nowhere and changed Foster's life forever.

"He was going 110 miles an hour, we were going 50, hit us head on," Foster said. "He was killed instantly, my husband died on the way to hospital, my daughter was critically injured, and I was critically injured and lost our unborn child."

For a month and a half Krystal remained in a coma, missing her husband's funeral and suffering from almost too many injuries to name.

"I had open heart surgery, my pelvis was broken, suffered a broken knee," Foster said.

Now ten years later, her painful story is being heard through the halls of the Statehouse as she testifies in support of Annie's Law.

"We need to stop drunk driving," Foster said. "This is a way to prevent it so that other families like mine and Chris's do not have to go through this anymore. It needs to stop."

If Annie's Law does pass, Ohio would become the 21st state to require ignition interlock for first time offenders. Research from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that first time offenders have driven drunk at least 80 times before they are arrested.

"Anybody that drives on our roadways should care about Annie's Law, because we have more offenders on our roadways than many other states in the United States," Julie Leggett, Executive Director of Northeast Ohio Chapter of MADD , said.

It's a reality for Krystal whose mission is far from over as she keeps her husband close to her heart.

"All stories do not end like mind ended," Foster said. "I know that God left me here to be able to share for all victims and victims' survivors."

Opponents to the law argue interlocks are too expensive and harsh for a first time offender, because they're responsible for the cost of the device. It costs about $2.50 a day, or $75 a month.

The state does have a fund for interlocks to help offenders pay for them.

Under current Ohio Law, interlocks are only required for repeat offenders.


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