Drunk drivers have long plagued Ohio’s roads and highways, putting innocent people in harm’s way for no good reason. Over the years, the state has enacted different laws in an attempt to crack down on these negligent drivers to increase safety for everyone. Residents may find it interesting to track the effectiveness of these laws by reviewing important statistics. 

Alcohol-related vehicular deaths in Ohio 

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in the five years spanning from 2014 to 2018, there were only minor changes in the number of people killed by drunk drivers. In 2014, 302 lives were lost in crashes in which alcohol was a contributing factor. Those deaths accounted for 30% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year. For the next two years, the number of drunk driving deaths increased first to 309 and then to 331 before dropping slightly to 329 in 2017. In both 2015 and 2017, alcohol was involved in 28% of the state’s auto deaths and in 2016 it was a factor in 29% of deaths. 

The impact of Annie’s Law  

In the spring of 2017, Annie’s Law went into effect across Ohio. It introduced the use of ignition interlock devices by even first-time offenders and increased the length of time for which a driver’s license would be suspended after a first or subsequent impaired driving offense. Annie’s Law also allowed courts to consider any arrest within 10 years of a prior drunk driving offense to be a second or greater versus after only six years. 

In 2018, there were fewer drunk driving deaths with 294 people killed in these crashes. However, overall traffic deaths also dropped resulting in a stagnation of the 28% of all deaths.