[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.
Intoxalock supports interlock device accuracy
Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio, who was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) last August, is expected to argue that her interlock failed and caused her to have a false positive, according to a news story from a Rochester station.
Intoxalock’s Direct of Government Relations, Brad Fralick, explains just how accurate ignition interlock devices are and outlines how slim the likelihood is of the device actually failing.
“Ignition interlock devices are accurate to five thousandths of one percent (0.0005) to prevent false readings,” Fralick explained. Interlocks are designed to pick up on any source of alcohol so while there may be other explanations for what the device read, that doesn’t clear a potential violation.
To better illustrate how an interlock device works, Vinnie Coons of Vargas Auto Repair and Collision provided a demonstration. Coons is a certified installer of Intoxalock ignition interlock devices in the state of New York.
Coons starts the vehicle with no problems and when asked to provide a random retest, puts alcohol-based mouthwash in his mouth before providing the sample. His next breath sample is a failed one.
It was during a request for a random retest that Judge Astacio provided a breath sample that registered a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of .051. Even though this is under the legal limit, it was a condition of her sentence that she would not drink alcohol so Astacio was in violation.
Fralick explained how a contaminant like mouthwash will show different dissipation patterns in the users BrAC. With a contaminant, it would not take long to get a clean follow-up reading.
“Unlike a beverage that has to be metabolized, this evaporates quickly,” said Fralick.
Fralick goes on to explain that even if the result was a positive reading due to mouthwash, Judge Astacio won’t necessarily be left off the hook.
Records show Astactio’s daughter provided the initial breath sample needed to start the vehicle before the violation occurred. New York law would require the judge to shut off the vehicle and reactivate the interlock device before getting behind the wheel. According to prosecutors, this wasn’t done. Astacio will be back in court on March 3.
3 out of 4 drunk driving offenders continue to drive with license suspension [infographic]
Intoxalock recently released an informational press release highlighting the successes of ignition interlock devices when compared to a license suspension after a drunk driving conviction.
Statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) support Intoxalock’s belief that when a license suspension or revocation stands alone, it is not an effective deterrent to drunk driving. According to MADD, three out of four drunk driving offenders will continue to drive on a license suspension.
Ignition interlock devices are the only mechanism in place with the ability to prevent a vehicle from being started when the driver is intoxicated. Without interlocks, there is very little to stop drunk drivers from continuing to drive.
Further research shows that when people are asked to estimate their level of intoxication, those that were the most intoxicated were more likely to underestimate their BAC level. With just a suspended license, people are left to guess if they are “ok” to drive and most of the time, those that are most intoxicated are the ones that chance it.
Read the full press release here.
To order a free 11×17 poster of the infographic below, contact us at Partner@Intoxalock.com. Click image to see a larger version.
Fans don’t let fans drive drunk this Super Bowl
As Super Bowl LI quickly approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging football fans to call the plays now: if you drink, don’t drive.
NHTSA will be hosting a Twitter chat on February 2nd, 2017 from 3-4 pm eastern, discussing Super Bowl party planning/hosting tips. Followers will have access to DUI stats, and will be able spread the word to help encourage fans not to drive drunk this Super Bowl Sunday.
You’re invited to join in the discussion
Who: NHTSA and our team of experts
What: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk Twitter Chat
When: Thursday, February 2, 2017, 3-4 p.m. ET
How: Follow the conversation using #DontDriveDrunk. Feel free to mention @NHTSAgov in any of your tweets and we will get back to as many questions and comments as we can! Remember to include #DontDriveDrunk in your comments so others can follow along the conversation, too.
Invite your friends, family, coworkers and followers to join in spreading the imperative message about designating a sober driver.
NHTSA’s SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off of the roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up. Download the app and start calling the plays today!
If you’ve been drinking, this chip bag knows
While ignition interlock devices are the only measure in place that can actually prevent a vehicle from being started by a drunk driver, there are many tools out there that can help detect when you may be intoxicated. Among portable breathalyzers and smart phone apps, now a chip bag might be able to suggest that somebody has had too much to drink.
As reported in Adweek, Frito Lay’s Tostitos is releasing a limited edition “Party Safe” bag that is designed to sense when somebody has had too much to drink. In addition, it may be able to help arrange alternate transportation.
The design is simple. A sensor will detect trace amounts of alcohol on the breath of the person holding the bag. If alcohol is detected, the bag is designed to display a flashing red steering wheel with the words, “don’t drink and drive” below the label on the front of the bag. In addition, the bag will be fitted with near-field communication technology with will allow users to be able to tap their phone on the bag and may be able to arrange for a discounted Uber ride right then and there.
If the bag senses the snacker’s breath alcohol concentration is free of alcohol, a green light will flash.
“We’re proud to introduce to the world the first bag of chips that gets you home safe,” Roger Baran, a creative director at Goodby Silverstein, the agency that designed the bag, told Adweek.
While the technology isn’t designed to be an ultimate deciding factor in whether or not to drive after drinking, it could be a fun addition to any party. It’s crucial to always pre-plan transportation to make sure you have a sober ride home after consuming alcohol.
“Our goal is to remove 25,000 cars from the roads that Sunday evening,” Jennifer Saenz, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer told Adweek. “Whether watching the big game at a friend’s house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away. By simply entering a participating Tostitos UPC code in the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off an Uber ride.”
The cost of a first-time DUI
Content provided by The Law Office of Brian Sloan, AZ DUI Lawyer
Arizona is one of the toughest states in the country when it comes to DUI laws. As time goes on, more and more states are developing harsh DUI penalties to deter drinking and driving. There’s no such thing as getting off easy, even if you are a first-time offender. The truth is, even a misdemeanor DUI conviction will have a drastic impact on your daily life.
- Mandatory jail time
- Bail costs
- Court fees
- License suspension
- Ignition interlock device
How is DUI determined?
The legal threshold for a DUI charge in most states is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Anyone driving with a BAC at or above that level could be arrested and charged with DUI. Having a higher blood alcohol content could even lead to more severe consequences, such as extreme DUI, super extreme DUI or aggravated DUI (a felony).
When it comes to determining the true cost of a DUI, it’s important to look at more than the financial impact. Yes, the financial strain can be quite significant when you consider the fines, attorney fees, and the cost of placing an ignition interlock device.
There’s also the financial impact of missing work due to mandatory jail time, court dates and meetings with your DUI attorney.
While these costs are significant, the cost to your personal, family life, career and reputation are also significant. In most states, DUI arrests are part of the public domain and anyone can see that you’ve been arrested.
Bail: If you need to pay bail as a condition of your release, it can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s up to the judge to set the bail amount. The judge may choose to release you without bail on the condition that you appear at a scheduled court date.
Legal fees: Securing the legal guidance of a skilled attorney is highly recommended. Depending on the circumstances of your case, legal fees could range from $500 to a few thousand.
DUI fines: Fines will vary by state, but in those states with harsh penalties, expect to pay around $1,500. Repeat offenders can expect to pay much higher fines.
Ignition interlock device: In many states, even first-time DUI offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device. You’ll be responsible for paying for regular maintenance of the device, installation and removal and a monthly lease fee.
Avoiding or lessening the costs of a first-time DUI
Of course, the best way to avoid the costs associated with a first-time DUI is to always have a designated driver or to take a cab or ride-share service.
If you are arrested and charged with DUI, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are many types of defense attorneys out there and many handle all types of defense, from trespassing to white collar crime and DUI.
You should always look for an attorney who handles DUI and related offenses exclusively. This will provide you with confidence in knowing that the lawyer you choose to work with spends all of his or her time defending suspects charged with driving under the influence.
This person will understand DUI laws thoroughly and know what type of defense will provide you with the most effective representation possible
The cost of a first-time DUI can be severe but with effective legal representation, your lawyer will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed and help to lessen the blow. If you are arrested, remember to exercise your right to remain silent and speak with your attorney before making a statement or agreeing to a plea bargain.
Michigan man receives 14th drunk driving conviction
A drunk driving offense could happen to anyone. 14 drunk driving offenses, however, signify a greater problem. Zenon Bialokur, a 54 Michigan resident, was recently arrested for his 14th drunk driving offense, a Michigan news source revealed.
Bialokur’s 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix was pulled over by a Michigan deputy after ignoring a traffic signal. “Upon talking to the driver, the deputy determined that he was intoxicated,” the police report filed following Bialokur’s arrest noted.
On top of 13 other drunk driving convictions that dated back to 1998, Bialokur’s record shows ten citations for driving on a suspended license and 12 driving suspensions.
Bialokur’s 14th drunk driving arrest came with felony drunk driving charges, driving without a license and a charge for possessing “open intoxicants” in a vehicle. He was booked into Macomb County Jail with a $50,000 bond. In addition, his vehicle was impounded by the police.
This case is one of many, unfortunately, that outline flaws in ignition interlock programs across the country. When a license is suspended or even revoked, there is nothing stopping offenders, especially habitual offenders, from continuing to drink and drive.
On average, a person drives drunk 80 times before being caught. In this case, it can be assumed that Bialokur has driven drunk well over 1,000 times. (MADD) That is 1,000 times that his actions could have killed or seriously injured innocent people on the roads.
Intoxalock is in support of requiring ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders. Studies are consistent in showing that 60-80% of drunk drivers continue driving on a suspended license. Ignition interlocks are the only mechanism that prevents a vehicle from being started while intoxicated. To learn more about ignition interlock devices, contact Intoxalock at (855) 531-5244.
Sobriety checkpoints: A deterrent to driving while impaired?
In 2015, Alcohol-impaired drivers caused over 10,000 traffic fatalities in the United States, making up 20% of all traffic fatalities (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). One common practice to help deter the incidence of drunk driving is sobriety checkpoints. Currently, 38 states and the District of Columbia authorize sobriety checkpoints (NHTSA).
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a sobriety checkpoint is held at a predetermined location at which law enforcement officers stop vehicles to check whether the driver is impaired. They may stop every vehicle or stop vehicles at a set interval.
Data suggests that sobriety checkpoints act as a deterrent to driving after drinking by increasing the perceived risk of arrest. The threat of a checkpoint helps to reduce the drivers’ confidence that they can avoid getting caught for driving while intoxicated. The CDC identified that checkpoints can help reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities by 18%-24%.
Alcohol-impaired driving and perceived risks of legal consequences
This month, an article entitled, “Alcohol-Impaired Driving and Perceived Risks of Legal Consequences” was published and revealed that perception of risk was a key factor in individuals deciding whether or not to drink and drive. The researchers analyzed data collected from drivers, the police and defense attorneys specializing in driving while impaired (DWI) cases from eight different cities in the United States.
First, researchers asked individuals whether sobriety checkpoints or legal penalties following drunk driving were more frightening. Next, researchers asked individuals if there was an increase in either checkpoints or tougher legal penalties, which would help deter them from driving under the influence.
The results of the research discussed above suggest that checkpoints are an effective deterrent for individuals who drink and drive. This data helps to support Intoxalock’s belief that ignition interlock devices should be required for all drunk driving offenders. Regardless of the laws, research is consistent in showing that license suspensions are extremely ineffective in preventing people from continuing to drive. As revealed in this study, people will still continue to take chances unless there are additional measures such as ignition interlocks and police checkpoints stopping them.
For more information or to read the full article, click here.
Annie’s Law will help save lives in Ohio
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 was a monumental day for Ohio residents. This was the day that a hard fought 3.5-year battle to strengthen drunk driving laws was finally won. On this day, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill, referred to as Annie’s Law, which will work to decrease drunk driving. This law will undoubtedly save lives.
It started on July 4, 2013. 36-year-old Ohio attorney Annie Rooney’s SUV was struck by a drunk driver while she was heading home from borrowing a friend’s bike for an upcoming race. The driver was a repeat drunk driving offender and Annie was killed in the crash. Rooney’s family, devastated by the loss of their sister, daughter and friend, began advocating for stronger drunk driving laws immediately following her death.
They centered their efforts around increasing the use of ignition interlock devices as a way to help prevent repeat OVI offenders from getting back on the road while intoxicated. Research is consistent in showing a direct correlation between ignition interlock devices and a decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities. According to MADD, states that require ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders have seen reductions in drunken driving deaths of up to 50%.
Unfortunately, the first attempt to pass the bill failed. U.S. Rep. Gary Sherer, co-sponsor of the Bill, worked tirelessly to negotiate tweaks to get the Bill passed.
“I didn’t know Annie personally, but through her friends and her wonderful family, I feel as if I do,” Scherer said in an article published by the Chillicothe Gazette. “I am pleased to help them make something positive come out of Annie’s tragedy. This law will save lives, and what a tribute to the life of Annie Rooney that is.”
The new law will take effect April 4th and will incentivize judges and offenders to use ignition interlock devices after all drunk driving convictions by allowing unlimited driving privileges with the installation of one in their vehicle. In addition, the time period that is examined for additional penalties for repeat offenders will be increased from six years to ten.
The law will also allow judges to cut suspension periods in half if they order their defendant to install an ignition interlock device following their conviction.
Intoxalock is proud to support Annie’s Law and looks forward to working to make Ohio roads safer from drunk drivers. With over 50 locations in Ohio, more than any other provider, Intoxalock will help make the interlock process easy and convenient for all Ohio residents. To speak to a representative about the OVI process in Ohio and to learn more about how Intoxalock can help, call us today at (855) 531-5244.