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Using social media, drinking and driving prove to be a deadly combination

Posted on August 9th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

The use of social media while drinking and driving again proves to be a deadly combination after four young women died within a four-day period.

Using Instagram and driving drunk

On Friday, July 21, Obdulia Sanchez, Jacqueline Sanchez Estrada and Manuela Seja were driving down the road, snapping pictures and talking. However, the driver, Sanchez was also creating a live Instagram video at the same time, taking her eyes off the road and her hands off the wheel.

What happened next was shocking to all the passengers. As Sanchez lost control, she over-corrected her wheel and ended up driving the car into a wire fence. The car had flipped, ejecting the two 14-year-old girls who weren’t wearing seatbelts in the back seat.

As Sanchez got out of the car and assessed the damage, she was still recording to her Instagram account. The video recorded shows her deceased sister lying on the ground behind her, as she exclaims her remorse for her actions. It was later discovered that Sanchez had been drinking before the crash, and her Blood Alcohol Concentration was .10 after the accident.

Drinking and driving

Another tragedy struck just a few days later when four women, Heather Camisa, Bianca Herwig, Paige Smith and Brooke Molnar, were involved in a crash in Bethel Park, PA as a result of drinking and driving in combination with the use of social media.

Nearly 10 minutes worth of Snapchat videos created by the young women show that they were drinking heavily at a bar, as well as in the vehicle that they were driving. Some of the video footage shows the driver, Smith, with a bottle of liquor between her legs while she operated the vehicle.

As early morning arrived, police reported that the vehicle they were driving in veered off the road and went directly into a utility pole. Smith, Camisa, and Herwig were pronounced dead at the scene, but Molnar was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

Although neither of these accidents was purposeful, the results were deadly. The alcohol that the drivers were drinking caused them to be impaired, allowing them to makeWith the rise of teens using social media, drinking and driving while using a phone has become more popular. out-of-character or rash decisions.  

Why this matters

As MADD said in their Facebook post about these accidents, “Stories like this highlight a disturbing trend of individuals bragging about drinking and driving on social media.”

Drunk driving is a serious matter, one that should never happen at all, let alone be publicized on through social media apps for hundreds to thousands of others to see. Although these are very sad incidents, we hope that people, especially teens, will learn from these women’s mistakes and choose to not operate a vehicle while drinking, using social media, or even worse, doing all at once.

Drunk driving while distracted by social media, texting and other technologies is the most deadly of evils our roads have ever seen. If ignition interlock devices are mandatory for all drunk driving offenders, regardless of the severity of the crime, we can cut down on some of these fatal accidents. While many states are making great strides in requiring interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, there is still progress to be made as a whole.

As Bethel Park police Chief Tim O’Conner said of the Pennsylvania situation, “We would stress to everyone that if you must drink, get a designated driver, make a phone call, have someone transport you even if you have to pay for it, party at home.There are options other than going out and trying to wheel yourself after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol.”

Intoxalock offers special pricing for the voluntary install of an ignition interlock devices. To learn more about how an ignition interlock device can help keep you or your loved ones safe on the road, call us today at (855) 531-5244.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, News
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Utah .05 BAC law receives backlash

Posted on July 31st, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

In the past few months, the state of Utah and its legislators have been facing backlash because of a new law that was passed. Back in March, Utah became the first state to drop the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) from .08 to .05 when Governor Gary Herbert signed the legislation into law.

The change stems from recommendations of a 2013 National Transportation Safety Board report, which fought for lower BAC limits within the United States. When Utah finally made the change, the state began paying for it almost immediately.

Expected to take effect December 1, 2018,  advocates for the law believe that it will protect drivers on the road and deter against drunk driving.

“This law will save lives, therefore it is good public policy and will move us closer to achieving our goal of Zero Fatalities,” Herbert said in a Washington Times article.

There are several parties that are concerned with this new law. The bar and restaurant industry could take a hit due to customers who are fearful of having more than one drink. The number of drinks Utah has signed a BAC law that changes the legal limit from .08 to .05.purchased at these establishments could diminish drastically over the next several months, and the American Beverage Institute is not happy.

Along the way, several newspaper ads have been run that have jabbed the state for their decision. Some of them encouraged tourists to visit Utah’s surrounding states so that they don’t go on vacation and come home convicted of a DUI.

The most recent ad was created and supported by the American Beverage Institute, and it targeted the legislators who are over the age of 65. The premise came from an unfound NHTSA research that claims that drivers over the age of 65 are more impaired than any younger driver with a BAC of .05.

However, besides the fact that this NHTSA research can’t be found, other research has shown time and time again that those driving with a BAC of .05 or higher show impairment with a potential risk to other drivers. The National Institute of Health looked at many studies and found that even at .05, people showed difficulty with simulated driving tests. The study also found that effects were stronger for sleep deprived and younger drivers that were completing the test, which contradicts the study that the American Beverage Institute was relying on for their recent ad campaign.

Those who have argued against the change believe that the law is too oppressive and restrictive, and they feel that consumers will be too afraid to drink outside their home. The opposition fears that the law will not effectively lower the number of drunk driving arrests. They even wonder if drunk driving arrests will rise due to the standard for arrest being so much lower. Some argue that at .05, a person is not impaired, so there is no need for this law.

This school of thought supports the assumption that refusals will go up because the likelihood of reaching the 0.05 threshold after drinking is so favorable.

In some states, refusals yield harsh penalties such as additional fines, stricter suspensions and longer ignition interlock requirements. For states with this program structure, a 0.05 BAC limit could be beneficial to keeping those that “take their chances” from driving after drinking. In other states, refusals reveal loopholes and could be used by people to avoid the DUI process, thus allowing the opportunity to re-commit the same act over and over again.

While all states share the common goal of making the road safer and decreasing the number of drunken drivers on roadways, the approaches vary greatly. The states with the most strict ignition interlock laws see the most dramatic decreases in alcohol-related deaths. Utah is taking a new approach, and only time will reveal how effective this new law will be.

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Fourth of July weekend marks one of the deadliest for drivers

Posted on June 30th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

The Fourth of July holiday can be an incredibly fun couple of days filled with barbecues, boating, fireworks, parades, time with family and friends and lots of good food. During all of these fun events many people also choose to drink as a part of their festivities. Unfortunately, thousands of people, some of whom over the legal limit to operate a vehicle, will go to their cars and head home, causing potential danger.

However, what people might not know is that they are about to enter one of the deadliest days of the year for driving. Although the 4th of July holiday might be one of America’s favorites, it can also turn into one of the deadliest holidays of the year, all because of drunken driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, during the Independence Day holiday weekend of 2015 (from 6 p.m. July 2nd to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 146 people were killed in crashes that involved at least one drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. Also, 92 people died in crashes involving at least one drunk driver with a BAC of .15 or higher, which is nearly twice the legal limit in all states.

Because of these stats for the Fourth of July weekend year after year, it’s important to plan everything in advance, including a designated driver. If you choose to drink during the holiday festivities, choose to call a friend or rely on a rideshare app to get you safely to your destination.

Police will be on patrol, doing their best to remind people the importance of either driving sober or getting pulled over. With all of the different options for getting around, there is no excuse for choosing to drive while intoxicated this Independence Day.

However, we know that nothing can fully prevent a drunk driver from starting their vehicle like an Intoxalock ignition interlock. Our interlocks help to stop a person from driving while intoxicated with an in-car breathalyzer. If a person submits a breath sample over the legal limit, they will not be allowed to start their car. Retests are required through the duration of the drive to ensure that the driver remains sober.  

If the stats aren’t enough for you, look into the cost of a DUI, both the financial burden of it, and the steps you would need to take to get back to driving again and living a normal life. A DUI can cost you your freedom. When it’s all said and done, driving drunk or even buzzed is not worth the potential consequences.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving
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New Hampshire closes two loopholes regarding interlocks

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 / By Brad Fralick

Legislators from New Hampshire’s General Court did the right thing last Thursday. With their 2017 session winding down, they passed House Bill 420 and House Bill 448. These bills closed a couple of loopholes that have bedeviled New Hampshire’s interlock program for years.

HB 420 corrects a big oversight in the legislation that created their interlock program. Believe it or not, while first and repeat DUI offenders had to have interlocks before they could be reinstated, drunk drivers who killed did not have to get an interlock prior to being reinstated. That’s right, alcohol-related crashes causing death were left out. Once the legislators realized that, yes indeed, these drivers would get out of prison and be eligible to get a license, these same legislators did the right thing.

HB 448, while less headline grabbing, will have a bigger effect upon traffic safety. This bill gives the Division of Motor Vehicles the power to extend a participant’s interlock period for violations of rolling retests, tampering and removing the device without permission. This concept, called compliance based monitoring, is the hottest trend in improving interlock program effectiveness. States that have moved to this practice have found that the drunk drivers who have learned their lesson get through the interlock requirement without a hitch, but that more than half do not fit that category, and they are constantly getting extended because, indeed, they do have an alcohol problem. But the beauty of this is that these people can still safely keep their jobs, go to school, and be productive members of society because the interlock removes the possibility of them driving drunk again. Everyone wins with effective interlock programs.

Now let’s hope that Governor Sununu signs these bills as everyone expects him to.

Filed Under: Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation
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Teens test their app against the rideshare competition to stop drunk driving

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

Recently, there’s been a spike within the rideshare competition. With each company coming up with strategic marketing campaigns and reaching out to cover new cities, you’d think our drunk driving dilemma would no longer be of concern. But that’s not the case.

The problem? People don’t want to leave their car at a bar overnight, even if they’re in no state to drive it home. Unless the driver has an ignition interlock installed, there is no mechanism in place to stop these people from “taking their chances” and driving drunk.

A new smartphone app could be joining big names such as Lyft and Uber within the rideshare world. However, this one has a different concept. According to KDVR News, Leave No Car Behind, co-founded by Colorado teenagers Beck Halbeisen and Vinny Rowe, is designed with the main intent being to get the car as well as the owner home safely after a night of drinking.

Similar to the goal of Intoxalock, Leave No Car Behind aims to prevent drunk driving incidents. According to KDVR, Halbeisen and Rowe aim to connect those who have been drinking with two other people who are sober. The idea is that one person can drive the drunk driver home while the other follows and picks them up.

The idea stemmed from the observation that after a night out drinking, many people will understand that they have had too much to drink and shouldn’t drive, but most aren’t willing to leave their car behind when heading home for the night. They see leaving their vehicle at a bar as more of a next-day convenience rather than a much needed safety precaution.

Since the teens behind the concept aren’t old enough to actually get into bars, they’ve been greeted with a lot of strange looks and remarks when they go to pick up an intoxicated customer. However, the app is still doing its job to get both the car and the consumer home safely.

Although the idea has been met with some criticism, Halbeisen and Rowe will continue to seek investors with the goal of expanding their reach outside of Colorado and into other areas nationwide.

These teens, as well as many other across the country, are fighting to make a difference. It’s exciting to see more and more people who can influence future laws. Those who care and fight for stricter laws against drunk driving offenses can make a difference. It’s been found that those who are speaking with legislators are making a difference, as you can read in our recent blog post about Arizona tightening its legislation in regards to ignition interlocks.

Together we can accomplish more in the fight for safe and responsible driving. To learn more about how Intoxalock can help prevent people from driving after drinking, call us today at (855) 531-5244.

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New Nevada law requires all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock

Posted on June 16th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

On Monday, June 12, Governor Brian Sandoval took steps to make roadways safer when he signed SB 259 into Nevada law.

The bill revises provisions that relate to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a driver has more than .08 blood alcohol concentration or has evidence of a controlled substance such as marijuana in their urine, police are required to revoke the driver’s license. Through the Nevada law, the state will require all who are convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device.

Nevada is the second state this month to put an all-offender law in place. Earlier this month, Oklahoma’s governor recently signed an ignition interlock bill for all offenders.

The new Nevada law also changed the length of time that a person is required have the ignition interlock. Under the new law, drivers who have been arrested for a DUI are required to have an IID for no less than six months following the conviction unless otherwise determined by a judge. When ordered to install, they are required to install the device in less than 14 days.

To protect others and keep all drivers safe, our goal is to fight for every state to adopt an all-offender law. This is the 13th bill that refers to ignition interlocks, and Nevada is now the 30th state in the country that has an all-offender law within their books.

Effective October 1, 2018, this Nevada law will make roadways safer by requiring more than 1500 drivers annually to have an ignition interlock device, who previously might have been prone to driving while intoxicated.

This law is important for those fighting for safety on the roads, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is very excited about another state choosing to pass an all-offender law.

“MADD is pleased to add Nevada to the growing list of states that recognize this common sense approach to keeping drunk drivers off the road,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “We are up to 30 states and Washington, D.C., and we won’t stop until we get to all 50 states. MADD calls on states like Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Wisconsin to pass this lifesaving law.”

With special pricing discounts and a 24/7 bilingual customer service team, Intoxalock is committed to being the number one ignition interlock provider in the state of Nevada. Intoxalock currently has 16 certified installation locations in Nevada that help to make getting an IID install easy. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI and need an ignition interlock installed in Nevada, call us at (855) 531-5244 or fill out a quick start at Intoxalock.com. If you are an affiliate and are interested in learning more about how Intoxalock can help your clients, email us at Partners@Intoxalock.com. Our goal is to get you back on the road quickly and safely.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation
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Estimating BAC level becomes even tougher with mislabeling

Posted on June 9th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

There are many factors that make it difficult to accurately estimate your blood alcohol content (BAC). Studies show that as your BAC increases, your ability to accurately estimate your level of intoxication decreases. Now, you might not even be able to trust the labels on the alcohol containers to accurately tell you how much alcohol you are even consuming.

According to USAToday, a popular gin was recalled in early May for an error in the alcohol content. Although the liquor normally has an alcohol content of 44 percent, tests of the distributed Bombay Sapphire discovered that certain bottles contained more than 77 percent alcohol.

USAToday stated that Bacardi, the company that produces Bombay Sapphire, issued the recall themselves after a consumer complaint was issued.

Shockingly enough, this wasn’t the first incident of recalled alcohol in Ontario. Just two months earlier, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario issued a recall for a batch of Georgian Bay vodka that was also bottled before being properly diluted. In both instances, the liquor contained nearly double the amount of alcohol, and an article from BBC News reported that this mistake was traced back to the production line.

This can be a huge problem with safety. If a person thinks they know their limit based on an amount rather than staying in tune with their body and the way that it feels, they might become more likely to drink past their own tolerance as well as the legal limit. 

Although this issue has recently been related to hard liquor, previous years have shown that incorrectly labelled alcohol has been common in wine. According to Rehab 4 Alcoholism, in 2015, there was a similar occurrence with wine labels printing incorrect information regarding the alcohol content.

In a study conducted by the University of California at Davis titled “False Label Claims About High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine,” more than 100,000 bottles of wine were tested. Within that testing, 60 percent of those bottles had 0.42 percent more alcohol than what the label claimed.

The lead researcher of the study, Professor Julian Alston, noted that even though numerically, the difference in alcohol content on the label and actual alcohol content weren’t different by a huge margin, it could still modify the behavior of the consumer.

“A discrepancy of 0.4 percentage points might not seem large relative to an actual value of 13.6 percent alcohol by volume, but even errors of this magnitude could lead consumers to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed in ways that could have some consequences for their health and driving safety,” Alston said.

Moving forward, it’s important to not only be aware of possible discrepancies on alcohol labels, but to also know what your body can handle, what your own personal limit is.

Ignition interlock devices can be critical in separating drinking from driving. Interlocks are the only mechanism in place that can prevent somebody from starting their vehicle while intoxicated. To learn more about voluntarily installing an ignition interlock in your vehicle, call us today at (855) 531-5244.

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Boating while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 states

Posted on May 26th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

As Memorial Day approaches, it’ll be the first chance many have to get out and truly enjoy the beautiful spring weather before it gets too hot. And for most that have bodies of water near them, boating instantly becomes a part of the weekend plans.

However, it’s important to refresh yourself on state laws before going out onto the water for the first time this year. BAC levels differ per state, and the rules are also different depending on if you are operating a boat or driving a car. In Iowa, consuming alcohol on a boat is legal as long as the operator of the boat is not under the influence. Remember that if you plan on doing any other water activities such as water skiing or tubing, you may want to wait to consume any alcohol until after you are finished.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are many factors that can multiply the effects of alcohol when you are on the water. These can include the sun and its glare off the water, water movement and wind. When you are boating or operating a motor vehicle, alcohol can quickly diminish your ability to make good decisions and reduces your reaction time.  Also, most people spend fewer hours operating a boat than anything else, so lack of experience can also play a role in accidents on the water.

A 2006 study by the U.S. Coast Guard found that 22.6 percent of the Boating Accident Report Database’s fatalities in 2002-2003 mentioned alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor to the deaths and 35.8 percent had a mention of alcohol or drugs somewhere within the record. However, it’s important to understand that coast guard statistics doesn’t include smaller accidents that have occurred, which don’t need to be reported. It’s likely that there have been even more deaths related to alcohol that weren’t reported to the coast guard, therefore they aren’t included in statistics. Also, some accidents might not have been reported due to a lack of understanding of regulations by boaters.

Iowa laws regarding boating under the influence of alcohol

This law does not apply to only motor boats, but all boats, including canoes and smaller manually powered boats. In Iowa, here are the consequences of operating a boat while intoxicated, per the Iowa Department of Natural Resources:

In Iowa, refusing to submit to a breath test can be detrimental. If you do refuse, it can result in a $500 fine and a one year suspension of boat operating privileges. The laws become even stricter if you are a repeat offender. During a second offense, a refusal results in a $1,000 fine as well as suspension of boat operating privileges. Third-time offenders who refuse to submit to a breath test will receive a $2,000 fine and suspension of boat operating privileges.

In some states, receiving a BUI can result in jail time, and in others, it could also directly affect a person’s driver’s license privileges. In states such as California, your driver’s license could be suspended because of a BUI. In other states, if you already have a DUI and are on probation, this would count as an alcohol violation.

BAC content for boating

In the infographic, the orange states represent those in which receiving a BUI could affect their driver’s license or driving record. Blue colored states represent those who don’t have laws in which a BUI would affect a driver’s license. Most states have a “no tolerance” law for minors who choose to consume alcohol and then operate a vehicle. The BAC level listed within each state shows the minimum level required in order to get a BUI in that state.

So remember, as you’re planning your weekend activities, be careful with the decisions you make that involve alcohol. Choose to have a designated driver, whether it be on a boat or in a car. Don’t put yourself or others at risk while you’re having fun because it could result in you being behind bars before the weekend is over.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, News
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Arizona passes law to strengthen interlock program

Posted on May 25th, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

Arizona is taking steps to strengthening drunk driving and ignition interlock laws statewide. Earlier this week, Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1150 into law, effective July 1, 2018. This will regulate Arizona’s ignition interlock device laws and processes and will make Arizona’s program one of the most cutting edge ones in the country. With best practices outlined in the new law, Arizona’s ignition interlock program will be an effective model for other states to replicate.Intoxalock ignition interlock device Arizona

The new law will require ignition interlock vendors and service centers to obtain specific insurance and will set vendor bond requirements. It will also implement jurisdiction requirements to ensure that the interlock providers in the state are committed to making the process convenient for Arizona drivers. Effective July 1, 2018, ignition interlock vendors will be required to have at least one installation location in every county throughout the state.

In addition, this law will allow the Department of Transportation to increase the time periods between required servicing of the interlock devices.

Perhaps the most important change this law will bring is the type of ignition interlock device that must be installed. Once effective, the new law will require ignition interlock devices to possess advanced technology capabilities that make interlock programs more effective and transparent. States that have implemented advanced technology requirements have seen dramatic decreases in the number of repeat drunk driving offenders and have seen drunk driving deaths fall.

“Arizona is taking huge steps in the right direction. Lives will be saved and the roads will be safer for everybody. We support advanced technology and a strict interlock program to maximize the effectiveness and believe that all states should make the changes Arizona is making,” Brad Fralick, Intoxalock Director of Government Relations said.

Intoxalock currently has 59 certified installation locations in Arizona. With 24/7 bilingual customer service, an easy-to-use device and special pricing discounts, Intoxalock is committed to being the interlock leader in the state.

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Missouri legislature voted to pass Bill that cuts DWI checkpoint funding to $1 per year

Posted on May 12th, 2017 / By Caitlin Lee

DWI Checkpoint

Governor Eric Greitens will decide if a proposed amendment that will eliminate DWI check points will become law. If signed by the governor, House Bill 4 will slash funding for checkpoints to just $1 per year. The new law would go into effect on August 28th, 2017. Currently, the budget for DWI checkpoints in Missouri is at $20 million per year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides those funds to the Missouri Department of Transportation, which then splits up the funds for each respective budget.

The Bill’s author has argued that checkpoints are not as of an effective countermeasure to drunk driving due to social media. Some lawmakers view the checkpoints as invasions of privacy and a violation of constitutional right, saying they promote the notion of “guilty until proven innocent.”

Fitzpatrick said he thinks money should go toward saturation patrols which he said are designed to put more officers out on the streets as opposed to stopping more cars.”Saturation patrols are more effective and they get more drunk drivers without the inconvenience to people who are trying to get from a to b, and are getting caught up in the process,” Representative Fitzpatrick said in an article to KFVS news.

MADD and local Law enforcement officers disagree completely.

“Using the budget to eliminate a proven countermeasure against drunk driving is disgraceful,” MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church said in a statement released by MADD on May 3. “We know from peer-reviewed studies that sobriety checkpoints reduce drunk driving deaths by 20 percent by catching drunk drivers. Publicity about checkpoints on social media and in the news deters people from drinking and getting behind the wheel, because they know they will be caught.”

According to KSHB News, Christopher Mann, a member of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving board for directors also disagrees with the measure. “Not only is this a slap in the face of victims of drunk driving, this is a slap in the face for law enforcement. Law enforcement officers throughout the state should be outraged that the legislators are taking money away from them at this time.”

To follow the Bill’s status, visit the Missouri House website.

 

 

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Legislation, News
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