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A local judge in Ohio is taking a novel approach when it comes to drunken drivers. Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti of Painesville has been requiring motorists convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) to download the ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, and they must set up the apps with their credit cards.
“It’s just common sense. Now that we have the technology and most people have the ability to do that, why not make it part of their sentence?” the judge told local media about the new requirements implemented last month.
If you can save one person from getting another OVI, one person from getting into an accident, one person from hurting somebody else, it makes sense. It’s just common sense. It doesn’t cost anybody anything to install it and activate it, and it’s far cheaper than paying the thousands of dollars you’d have to pay for another OVI.
The new Ohio punishment, which is tacked on to fines and possible jail time, is the latest move by the authorities requiring the use of mobile technology to combat drunken drivers. Beginning in November, Oklahoma will become the latest of a growing number of states requiring first-time drunken-driving offenders to install a breathalyzer in their vehicles. The ignition won’t start the car if the device detects a certain level of alcohol.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said 10,265 people were killed and another 290,000 injured in alcohol-related accidents on US roadways in 2015.
Driving while intoxicated isn’t the only major cause of accidents, either. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in 2015 that 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.
Part of the blame for distracted driving has been leveled at technology companies like Apple, which has been sued over highway deaths on allegations that it was not doing enough to lock out motorists from using their iPhones. Some lawsuits claimed that Apple had already patented a technology to prevent phone use while driving but chose not to release it for business reasons.
Just last week, however, Apple introduced a new feature in its upcoming iOS 11 mobile operating system called “Do Not Disturb While Driving.” If enabled, the feature turns off an iOS device’s screen and silences notifications to stop motorists from being distracted by them.