CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "It just reinforces the fact that we have to continue to campaign to eliminate drunk driving," says Jeralyn Shimell.
Jeralyn Shimell is a victim service specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Northeastern Ohio. She's been there for families dealing with the devastating loss as a result of the actions of a drunken driver.
"Lord knows, I wish I could meet them under different circumstances, but, they're actually really amazing people, and their life has just been torn apart absolutely torn apart," says Shimell.
Like the family of 36-year-old Annie Rooney, killed by a drunk driver July 4, 2013 on U.S. Route 50 in Chillicothe.
Since her death, MADD has been pushing to pass Ohio House Bill 469, better known as Annie's Law. It 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.
Right now first time offenders have their license suspended. Shimmel says that doesn't prevent them from still getting behind the wheel drunk. But the interlock system could help reduce the crime.
"That's what we're trying to get passed that way there will be no license restrictions but you're going to have the interlock system in your car which will help keep tabs on any drinking," explains Shimell.
Shimmel says MADD's mission is an ongoing battle to end drunken driving, saving lives and the heartbreak of loved one's effected by someone's actions.
"We have to start educating our youth. There has to be open communication to get them to understand the hazards of drinking and driving," says Shimell.
Since the inception of MADD, 400 drunken driving laws have been put on the books. They hope to have Annie's law passed within a year. Similar laws are in place in 25 other states.
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