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.
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.”