Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ohio DUI/ Federal highway safety regulations

The onset of the holiday season also brings to focus renewed emphasis on the part of media & law enforcement on matters such as driving under the influence, car accidents, and deaths due to car accidents. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is taking the opportunity, too, to kick off a more extensive campaign, part of which is trying to persuade the individual states to implement stricter laws including the use of devices such as ignition interlocks on the cars of those who drive impaired.

New Mexico was the first, and is the only, state to pass a law requiring interlocks on first-time offenders’ cars, and though the results have been less than perfect, it has apparently been being viewed as a model for other states. (Article)

But there’s more to DUI than state or local law enforcement per se, too.

Over the years Ohio has made a number of changes to its DUI law, but remains one of 11 states lagging behind federal standards calling for mandatory license suspension, jail time, treatment programs, and ignition interlock or vehicle immobilization devices, according to a number of news articles last week.

Part of the Federal Transportation Equity Act for 21st. Century Restoration in 1998 created a compliance program to encourage states to adopt laws providing for enhanced sanctions for repeat DUI offenders ( 23 CFR § 1275). To comply with those standards states have to have certain repeat offender provisions in place, and those without those criteria are subject to transfers of Federal aid highway construction funds. As of January, 39 states were in compliance with those requirements, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, including Indiana & Kentucky -- Ohio was not. (More..)

Several publications and aids are available from the NHTSA, including a “Guide to Sentencing DWI Drivers” and sentencing checklist.

Ohio DUI statutes (ORC §4511.19)
Kentucky ( KRS §189A )
Indiana ( IC § 9-30-5 )

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