Missouri legislature voted to pass Bill that cuts DWI checkpoint funding to $1 per year
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.
Teen drunk driving deaths spark a need for awareness
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Even more, a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drunk driver. (MADD) Teen drunk driving is an epidemic and it needs to be put in the spotlight to create awareness about the severity of it.
Florida residents and parents nationwide are mourning the deaths of two teenagers involved in a drunk driving crash over the weekend. A third teenager is still in the hospital recovering. The car veered off the road and slammed into a tree just minutes after the teens posted shocking video clips to social media, according to abcactionnews.com.
In the videos, the teens are showing off bottles of alcohol and are smoking. A sister of one of the teens posted the videos to social media in hopes that they would serve as a warning for other people. Ultimately, she hopes they will save lives. The video has been shared thousands of times and the family is requesting that others continue passing on the message.
“I hope the young ones coming up will make better choices. It’s frightening. It’s terrible. It didn’t have to happen,” Beverly Stroup said. Stroup and her husband drove by the crash just minutes after it happened.
Ignition interlock devices can be critical tools to help prevent drunk driving by teens. Intoxalock offers special pricing on the voluntary installation of ignition interlock devices for young drivers 23 and under. For less than $1 a day, parents can add an additional level of safety to their child’s vehicle and can actively separate drinking from driving.
The statistics surrounding teen drunk driving are startling. About one in seven teens binge drink and it’s been proven that kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash. (MADD) Intoxalock is committed to helping prevent drunk driving and ignition interlock devices can be critical to preventing teens from starting a vehicle while intoxicated. Call us today at (855) 531-5244 to learn more about protecting your teens from drinking and driving.
Research shows Americans over 60 are drinking more
A recent article published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows Americans over 60 are drinking more than they were 20 years ago. “Given the larger number of Americans we are going to have (as the population continues to age) that’s going to increase the need for more public health programming and planning” the study suggested. The researcher analyzed gender-specific trends from 145,000 responses between the years of 1997-2014.
In those years, binge drinking in men rose from 19.9% to 22.5%. Women had a similar upward trend, rising about 6% between 1997 and 2013. Binge drinking was used as its own category, and represented consumption of five or more drinks in a single day in the past year.
The Drinking Gender Gap
In the US, 20 years ago, 54% of men 60 and older were reported to be “current drinkers,” and 37.8% of women fit the same description. In 2014, both groups saw increases: Men rose to 59.9% and women to 47.5%. The flight larger uptick in women closed the margin to 12.4%. One interesting finding is that we see the gender gap closing.
Previously, researchers saw more of an increase from men, but now they see an equal increase. Dr. Bhanuprakash Kolla, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic said “that the equalization between genders was unfortunate because the trend shows use in women is going up, not that the use in men is going down.” The study’s findings suggested that the upward trend of drinking among adults over 60, in particular women, suggests the importance of public health planning to meet future needs for alcohol-related programs.
According to the research, the aging US population is projected to almost double by 2050. If the trend of increased alcohol consumption that was seen between 1997 and 2014 continues, the researchers note that substantially more drinkers are likely. This will create a major need for public programs, either through public health planning, education and other alcohol-related programs.
MADD shows just how effective interlocks are
As we see in our day-to-day lives, drunk driving is still a problem that affects people throughout the entire nation. There have been numerous attempts to curb this tragic tendency with stricter license suspension laws, yet there still remains the gray area of drunk driving with a suspended license. This is where ignition interlocks come into play, to fill up this gray area and eliminate the combination of drinking and driving.
In a recent infographic posted by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), this fact of ignition interlock devices succeeding where license suspensions fail is perfectly exemplified. With just a mere license suspension, there are zero obstacles a person must overcome to drink and get behind the wheel again.
MADD: License suspensions don’t prevent repeat offenses
As reported within the infographic, nearly 50-75% of convicted drunk drivers still drive on their suspended licenses, explaining the fact that one-third of first offenders repeat this dangerous offense.
In recent years, there have been large numbers reported of people being caught drunk driving on a suspended license. In 2009, California reported 43,000 people were caught drunk driving on suspended licenses. More recently, 17,000 were caught in Florida in 2012 and 2,000 in Wisconsin for all of 2014. The bottom line is, license suspensions do not eliminate the habit of drunk driving.
Ignition interlock devices are the most effective solution
On the other hand, with the implementation of an ignition interlock device, two important barriers are established to prevent drivers from drunk driving on a suspended license. The first obstacle is that before the car even starts a person must submit a breath test to see how much alcohol is within their system. If alcohol is actually detected and they fail multiple tests in a row, their car will enter into a lockout mode and the potential drunk driver will not be able to operate their car until it is taken out of lockout by the ignition interlock provider.
The second obstacle is the random retest, which requires the driver to resubmit random breath test while operating their car. This prevents drivers from passing their initial start-up test and drinking as they operate their vehicle. If a person fails or misses a retest multiple times, their car will enter into a lockout mode.
Their car will not shut off but it will beep and flash its lights, drawing attention to it and prompting the driver to get off the road. If no alcohol is detected for all of the breath samples the driver takes, the driver will be able to reach their destination in a safe and sober manner.
In this day and age of technology and information, we must look towards the facts to update our methods of preventing drunk driving. Antiquated license suspension laws are just not cutting it, and we must strive to provide better protection on the roads for our friends and family. Ignition interlocks are a proven method of providing this protection while allowing those who made the mistake of drunk driving to still live their everyday lives.
To see the infographic mentioned in this article, and to see how to demand ignition interlock laws in your area, please visit MADD’s website.
If you are interested in obtaining an ignition interlock device or mandated to have one by a court order, learn more about why you should choose Intoxalock as your ignition interlock provider.
Don’t rely on luck alone this St. Patrick’s Day
Today is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone is busy making plans for the holiday festivities, green beer included. March 17th is notoriously known as a deadly day in the United States, as we continue to see a spike in drunk-driving fatalities. Whether your plans include going to the local pub, a parade or celebrating with friends, don’t rely on luck alone this year; Plan ahead and designate a sober driver to get you home safely.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 252 people lost their lives in drunken driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk-driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours — midnight to 5:59 a.m.
Let’s do our part to make 2017 different.
- NOW: Even if you don’t have plans yet, plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. Save the number of a taxi company in your phone so you always have a backup plan. Download a ride sharing app to make finding a way home even easier.
- WHEN YOU MAKE PLANS: A sober driver is an essential part of any party plan. Once you know where you’ll celebrate, decide whether you’re drinking or driving. You can only choose one.
- ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. If you’re the designated driver, don’t drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and brag about your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver. Only drive sober or ride with a sober driver.
- EVERY DAY: If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, take an Uber or use public transportation to get home safely. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. Help those around you be responsible too.
If you or someone you know is interested in installing an ignition interlock device to prevent drunk driving or to regain a driver’s license, Intoxalock can help. Give us a call today at (855)-531-5244.
MADD: Ignition Interlocks Stopped 2.3 Million Drunk Driving Attempts in the Past Ten Years
In 2016, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wanted to quantify how effective ignition interlocks are. According to their 2017 report, “MADD has been advocating for ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers, starting with the first offense, for the past 10 years, with the firm belief that advanced technology is the best defense available to combat the tragedies caused by drunk driving.”
In the decade between 2006 and 2016, 2.3 million car starts were prevented with an interlock device in a car whose driver had a BAC > .08. MADD collected data from 11 ignition interlock manufacturers and found that ignition interlocks have stopped 350,000 attempts to drive drunk in 2016 alone.
Every state has an ignition interlock law of some kind, but MADD’s goal is to have every state adopt the most effective ignition interlock law, a law that will apply to every single drunk driver after the first offense. As of today, 28 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place for ignition interlock device requirements after the first offense. It is MADD’s priority to work with states who have yet to adopt the same laws.
There were significant changes made to state laws last year. According to MADD’s report:
- Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C. all enacted all-offender interlock laws, bringing the total to 28 states and D.C.
- Pennsylvania enacted a law requiring devices for first time offenders and refusals with a BAC of .10 or greater.
- California, Georgia and Ohio enacted laws that will incentivize the use of interlock devices.
- West Virginia lawmakers were able to defeat a measure eliminating Administrative License Revocation (ALR). Successfully repealing this law would have been devastating, as the coupling of ALR and IID’s has helped to decrease drunk driving deaths by 50%
- Mississippi and Tennessee enacted laws requiring IID users to prove compliance before having it removed or being relicensed.
For more information, click here to read MADD’s full report.
Intoxalock is a certified ignition interlock device provider and has over 1900 certified installation locations nationwide. If you need an interlock installed, call us today at (855) 531-5244 to talk with one of our state specialists. If you are an affiliate and are interested in learning more about how Intoxalock can help your clients, email us at Partners@Intoxalock.com.
Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation, Locations, News
Tags: advanced technology, driving under the influence, drunk driving, drunk driving laws, DUI, DUI news, ignition interlock device, MADD
Utah Lawmakers Look to Lower DUI Limit to .05
Last week, Utah’s legislature voted 17-12 in favor of HB155, a bill that will lower drivers’ permissible level of blood alcohol in the state from .08 percent to .05 percent. This Bill, if signed by Governor Herbert, will help to position Utah as the strictest state with DUI blood alcohol limit in the country. Under current law, if someone is found to be impaired but is still below .08, they would face a citation rather than a DUI charge and an automatic 120-day driver’s license suspension.
The House already voted on HB155 last month, with 48-26 in favor of the measure. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the measure will be put in front of Utah’s Governor this week. The governor’s spokeswoman said the governor is “supportive” of the step.
Currently, no other state has adopted this measure. Lawmakers in Washington are considering lowering the legal limit for blood-alcohol content this year, while recently, Hawaii’s Bill to pass a similar proposal died in the Legislature. This will follow a trend of European countries like Spain, Germany, France and Belgium, all who have employed a .05 legal limit.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has previously identified that a blood alcohol content level of .05 percent can give a driver a harder time on steering the vehicle, responding to emergencies or tracking moving objects.
“Utah leads,” Senator Stuart Adams said, referring to the fact that Utah was the first state to adopt a blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent in 1983. “Utah led then, and I think we ought to lead now.”
If signed, the bill will take effect on December 30, 2018. The date was specifically chosen to ensure lower levels of drunken driving incidents around New Year’s Eve celebrations.
New push to strengthen Kentucky DUI laws
The Kentucky House is expected to vote this week on a proposed bill that would prohibit shock probation in driving under the influence (DUI) cases that involve fatalities. Representative Robert Benvenuti, the Bill’s sponsor, said that the legislation would affect those convicted of second-degree manslaughter or reckless homicide.
Shock probation is the policy where a judge orders a convicted offender to prison for a short time then suspends the remainder of the sentence in favor of probation. Currently, families of those victims in DUI fatality cases may find those convicted of the crime have been released months after serving part of their time. “Often only after serving 60 days, 90 days or six months for taking the life of another individual because they chose to be impaired while driving,” Benvenuti said.
Carolyn Scharf, whose 17-year-old daughter died in 1985 after being hit by an impaired driver spoke to committee members who had experienced this. Scharf said the offender was released from jail after only 63 days of their sentence. According to Scharf, “Shock probation let her walk out of Jefferson County jail after 63 days. Our loss is a lifetime sentence. There is no shock probation for us.”
This bill is completely separate from House Bill 261, which passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, 2/22. This Bill would only let people be convicted of a first-offense DUI once in a lifetime, regardless of when the offense occurred. Kentucky law treats DUI offenses on a sliding scale – penalties worsen with each additional offense. However, with a current look back period of ten years, offenders can have two DUIs, more than ten years apart, and have both treated as first offenses, often with no jail time.
This bill comes with contention, as house democrats are afraid that it will penalize offenders for the rest of their life for one mistake. But Republican state representative Jim DuPlessis, who sponsored the Bill, said that it would discourage reckless behavior.
“The whole idea is your first stays with you. If that is not agreeable to you, this is not the bill for you, quite frankly,” said Republican Rep. Robert Benvenuti. “The whole idea is the offense remains so the system cannot be manipulated by those who choose to manipulate it.”
Intoxalock is a certified ignition interlock device provider in Kentucky and has over 44 certified installation locations throughout the state. If you need an interlock installed in Kentucky, call us today at (855) 531-5244 to talk with one of our state specialists. If you are an affiliate and are interested in learning more about how Intoxalock can help your clients, email us at Partners@Intoxalock.com.
[Press release] Intoxalock calls for stronger drunk driving legislation
Intoxalock responded to a new study released by the National Safety Council last week by reinforcing the need for stricter drunk driving legislation nationwide.
Preliminary 2016 data from the National Safety Council shows a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle crash-related deaths over last year and a 14 percent increase over 2014.
“The number of DUI arrests has seen a dramatic decline over recent years and now we’re paying the price in increased traffic fatalities,” said Brad Fralick, Director of Government Relations for Intoxalock.
To keep roads as safe as possible, Intoxalock urges states to implement programs that are as effective as possible. Ignition interlock devices should be required for all drunk driving offenders, even first offenders. Standing alone, license suspensions are not effective at preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
States should enforce a “compliance based removal” structure for interlock devices. With somebody monitoring the device activity, regaining a full driver’s license is based on complete compliance with the device requirements.
Florida is proposing harsher penalties for repeatedly refusing breath alcohol tests
Currently, in the state of Florida, drivers who refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test will face a 1-year suspension of their driver’s license. However, Senator David Simmons is proposing harsher penalties for refusals of breath tests during traffic stops.
Senator David Simmons (R)-Altamonte Springs presented a bill (SB918) that will look to strengthen penalties for those who repeatedly refuse tests for driving under the influence. Under the proposed bill, a motorist who refuses to submit to a breath, urine or blood sample when asked to do so by an officer would be fined between $500- $1,000, would receive four points on their license and would be put on probation for six months.
According to the proposal, individuals who refuse the test for the second time will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This penalty could bring up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
The motorist would also be required to pay for mandatory interlock devices to be installed on all their vehicles, including those jointly leased or owned, for up to one year, until qualifying for the restricted license.
Moreover, the proposed bill states that a judge will not have discretion on a case by case basis, each penalty must be employed.
NHTSA’s Initiatives to Address Impaired Driving (2003) identified that the increase of testing of crash-involved drivers is one of five priority infrastructure needs to combat the incidence of drunk driving. According to NHTSA, without accurate information on the BAC levels of drivers, the ability to identify the alcohol-crash problem is compromised. Better data allows for better identification of the problem, as well as discerning trends over time.
This is not the first bill involving DUI laws. Recently, the Legislature has also looked to tie boating under the influence conditions into penalties related to offender’s driving records, counting towards the total number of DUIs committed. This bill failed during the last session. Future initiatives also plan for a separate bill that will define the act of driving under the influence of Marijuana.
Intoxalock has over 65 installation locations in Florida and supports the proposal to strengthen breath test refusal laws in the state.