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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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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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Don’t rely on luck alone this St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on March 17th, 2017 / By Caitlin Lee

NITSA St Patrick's Day Statistics

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.

NHTSA and Intoxalock want to remind you once again that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Drivingdrive sober. For more information on buzzed driving, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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.

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MADD: Ignition Interlocks Stopped 2.3 Million Drunk Driving Attempts in the Past Ten Years

Posted on March 15th, 2017 / By Caitlin Lee

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.

 

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Utah Lawmakers Look to Lower DUI Limit to .05

Posted on March 13th, 2017 / By IntoxBlog

Utah dui state laws

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.

Learn more about Utah ignition interlock laws and state requirements

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Drunk driving victims influence stricter laws

Posted on March 9th, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

Every day in America, 28 people die as a result of drunk driving traffic accidents. In addition, every two minutes, somebody is injured as a result of drunk driving (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The grim reality is that many of the individuals killed or injured are not those that chose to drive impaired. Many times, they aren’t even passengers in the vehicle being operated by an impaired driver. They are sober, innocent drivers and passengers. Many times, they are children. They are sons and daughters. They are moms and dads. Grandparents.

These victims are not just another number. They aren’t just one of 28 unlucky ones that lost their lives due to drunk driving in any given day. They have stories and lives and a purpose. In many cases, their families have shared those stories and advocated enough to make a difference.

Leandra Rosado (New York)

Leandra Rosado was 11 years old when she was a passenger in a vehicle driven and crashed by a drunk driver. She did not Leandra Rosadosurvive. The vehicle was being driven by the mother of a friend of hers and was transporting seven young girls home for a sleepover.

Leandra’s father, Lenny Rosado, immediately responded by demanding that New York crack down on drunk driving laws. Leandra’s Law was passed on December 18, 2009 and makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child in your vehicle, according to criminaljustice.ny.gov. New York is one of 36 states with special child endangerment laws that toughen the charges against those that drive under the influence with a child in the vehicle.

Emma Longstreet (South Carolina)

Six-year-old Emma Longstreet was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Day in 2012. Emma was on the way to church with her family the morning their family van was struck by the drunk driver. Emma’s family established the Emma Longstreet Foundation to educate the public on the dangers of drunk driving.
Emma Longstreet
Two years following Emma’s death, the total number of people killed because of drunk driving in Lexington County (Emma’s hometown) dropped from 41 to 27.

On October 1, 2014, Emma’s Law became effective, due to persistent efforts by David Longstreet, Emma’s father. Emma’s Law requires first offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

The Longstreet family continues to work diligently to educate young Americans on the severity of drunk driving.

Noah Leotta (Maryland)

Officer Noah Leotta, 24, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in December of 2015. Noah was working a special DUI Noah Leottaassignment the night of the crash and had pulled over and approached a different vehicle. As he was returning to his cruiser, he was hit by the drunk driver.

As quoted in the Washington Post, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger was outraged and publically criticized Maryland’s drunk driving penalties. “Officer Leotta’s death is an absolutely tragic loss,” Manger said. “This young police officer, who is an example of what every cop should be, was killed by a man who decided to smoke some dope, drink for four hours and get behind the wheel of a car.” Leotta died, Manger said, “trying to prevent the exact crime that killed him.”

According to MADD, Noah’s death has renewed previous efforts in Maryland to pass a bill requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD dedicated their 2016 Ignition Interlock report to Noah and all who have been victims of drunk driving.

Melanie Powell (Massachusetts)

Melanie Powell, 13, was killed by a repeat offense drunk driver on July 25, 2003. Melanie was one of 156 people killed by drunk Melanie Powelldrivers in Massachusetts that year. Melanie was walking home from the beach with two of her friends. After a quick stop at the local convenience store to load up on snacks for that night’s sleepover, the trio was on their way. As Melanie started crossing the street, she was struck by a drunk driver and was thrown over 100 feet. Those at the scene described the driver as “reeking of alcohol.”

On October 28, 2005, Melanie’s Law was passed. This law overhauls Massachusetts’ previously ineffective drunk driving laws. In 2003 when Melanie was killed, MADD gave the state of Massachusetts a letter grade of “F” for their drunk driving laws. At that time, Massachusetts was only one of five states without a law requiring ignition interlocks for repeat offenders.

Melanie’s Law created an ignition interlock program in the state and requires all multiple drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock device. According to massrmv.com, over 4,000 ignition interlock devices have been installed since the law took effect. According to Melanie’s parents, if the law saves just one life, it will all be worth it (southofboston.net).

Annie Rooney (Ohio)

Annie Rooney was 36 years old when she was killed by a drunk driver on July 4, 3013 in Chillicothe, Ohio. Annie was a star Annie Rooneyathlete and prosecuting attorney where she spent much of her practice prosecuting domestic violence and DUI cases. Annie was traveling home after borrowing a friend’s bicycle when a drunk driver crossed the center lane and struck her car.

The Rooney family has been fighting for over a year to strengthen Ohio’s drunk driving laws by requiring that ignition interlock devices be installed in vehicles of first-time drunk driving offenders. The bill has been pulled many times but was reintroduced in December of 2015. Half of the states in the United States require ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders. If passed, Ohio would become the 26th state to require interlocks for all drunk driving offenders.

“We would not like anyone to ever go through what we have gone through,” Annie’s father, Dr. Richard Rooney, said in a recent news report.

Ricci Branca (New Jersey)

Ricci Branca, 17, was riding bikes with some friends along Ocean Drive when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The boysRicci Branca
were riding single file and all suffered injuries. Ricci passed away on July 14, 2006, four days after the accident. He was an avid BMX bicyclist and enjoyed working on cars with his father.

Following Ricci’s death, the Branca family has fought tirelessly to strengthen drunk driving laws in the state.

“The one thing I promised him when he was lying in that trauma unit dying, was that I was never going to give up for him. I was never going to stop fighting to help prevent other families from going through this,” Sherri Branca, Ricci’s mother, said in a 2009 news article.

Ricci’s Law was signed into effect on this family’s kitchen table inside their home on January 14, 2010. The law requires first-time drunk driving offenders with a blood alcohol content above 0.15 to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The family says this is only a start and they are committed to continuing working toward further strengthening those laws.

Ignition interlock devices save lives

The individuals featured above aren’t just more numbers added to the total of those who have lost their lives to drunk drivers. Their lives have made an impact and have influenced changes in drunk driving laws nationwide. Currently, only half of the states in the country have laws in place that require ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders, so there is definitely progress to be made. As MADD highlights in their 2016 Ignition Interlock Report, states that have adapted these types of laws have seen huge decreases in alcohol-related traffic deaths.

To learn more about ignition interlock devices and how they can help protect against drunk driving, please call and speak to our state specialists at (855) 531-5244.

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Iowa votes to weaken drunk driving laws – Take action now!

Posted on February 24th, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

Iowa roads are in danger of becoming a lot less safe if recent legislation to weaken Iowa’s drunk driving laws passes through the House of Representatives. The bill proposes the implementation of a 24/7 Sobriety Program that will ultimately replace ignition interlock device requirements for repeat drunk driving offenders.

What is the 24/7 Sobriety Program (Iowa House Bill 606)?

The program would require that convicted drunk drivers check in two times a day to provide a breath sample, instead of requiring them to use an ignition interlock device for a duration of time. This will prove to be just as effective as license suspension is for repeat offenders…not effective at all.Iowa take action

According to MADD studies, 50 to 75 percent of drunk driving offenders continue to drive even after losing their license. View more drunk driving statistics. Sadly, many repeat drunk drivers do so out of habit. Besides physically preventing them from starting their vehicles while intoxicated and taking the decision-making aspect out of their hands with an ignition interlock device, there is nothing that can be done to guarantee that they will not get behind the wheel after drinking.

Ignition interlock devices are effective in preventing drunk driving while allowing offenders to resume a normal life. They can still drive to work and transport their children around. With a requirement to physically go into a location twice a day to provide samples, schedules will be disrupted and rehabilitation will be nearly impossible. This will result in people abandoning the program and spiraling downward into a system of consequences without the chance to recover.

Ignition interlock devices save lives

Data is consistent in showing a dramatic decrease in drunk driving deaths after a state enacts strict ignition interlock laws. Just last year, Iowa saw over 100 alcohol-related traffic fatalities and over 930 alcohol-related crash injuries. (MADD) Sadly, those numbers are rising every year. That number, however, could drastically be cut if ignition interlock devices became required for all Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenders.

“No other program can physically stop a would-be drunken driver from getting behind the wheel and threatening anyone in his or her path,” said Frank Harris, MADD’s director of state government affairs.

In MADD’s 2016 Ignition Interlock Report, 127,633 Iowa drunk drivers with a Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) of .08 or above were prevented from starting their vehicles because of ignition interlock devices. In addition 595,473 Iowa drivers with a BrAC between .02 and .08 attempted to start their vehicles but were stopped by the ignition interlock device. Though not legally intoxicated, this shows the number of individuals willing to test the limits of drinking and driving.

Currently, 25 states require ignition interlock devices for all OWI offenders. Iowa is not one of them. Instead, Iowa is looking to remove the interlock requirement altogether, which undoubtedly will result in more alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

Iowa residents – take action now!

On MADD’s scale of what the most effective ignition interlock program would look like, Iowa’s laws are consistent with two of the five requirements. 40%. Iowa is failing. With so much room for improvement and so many lives to be saved, all Iowa residents must come together and take action to prevent this bill from passing.

To write to your state representative, follow these steps:

  1. Go to https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find and locate your state representative by typing in your home address
  2. Click on your representative to obtain their e-mail address
  3. Write a personal e-mail opposing House Bill 606 (24/7 Program)
  4. Urge your family and friends to send their own letters – the more, the better

Take action today. Tomorrow might be too late. One letter could save lives. Help Iowa protect our parents, children, grandparents, friends and more. Many times, victims of drunk driving traffic fatalities end up being those that are innocent. Let’s work together to strengthen Iowa drunk driving laws and keep offenders off the roads.

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Taking your chances driving without an interlock – not worth it

Posted on November 20th, 2015 / By Brad Fralick

In most states, whether you are a first or a repeat DUI offender, you must have an interlock to obtain legal driving privileges.  Notice I said “legal”.  A huge number of people, however, take their chances and do not get an interlock. Instead, they opt to drive illegally.  Some do this to save the expenses associated with an ignition interlock. Unfortunately, others skip the interlock because they intend to continue drinking and driving and know they won’t be able to with an interlock installed.

But in making this decision, everyone attempts to calculate the chancdriving without interlocke of getting caught.  What are those chances?  Let’s run the numbers. If you look at the odds each time you drive, the chances of getting caught are small, but over time those odds change.  According to FBI statistics, in 2014, there were just over 1.1 million DUI arrests.  During that same year there were 1.6 million arrests for driving while suspended or revoked (with the biggest reason for the suspension being DUI).  It is the most common traffic crime in every state.

If you are reading this as a person needing an interlock to drive legally, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I expect to get caught for the DUI that I committed? Most people say that they had a nagging fear of getting caught, but that they did not expect it when it actually happened.
  • What is the likelihood that I will get caught driving without my license? If we go by the statistics cited above, you have almost a 1.5 greater chance of getting caught driving while suspended/revoked than you did for the DUI offense you were caught for. This should be enough for you to get a lease for an interlock.

Those in denial will often say a lot of those arrests were persons who got caught multiple times and it does not translate to a one person-one arrest formula.  In calculating of whether or not to get an interlock, it cannot be comforting to acknowledge that part of that assumption is true.  Many people get caught multiple times.

If you take those FBI statistics and run a probability calculation over 20 years, it comes out to you having a 12% chance of NOT getting caught.  In every state a Driving While Suspended or Revoked Offense (DwS/R) is a crime at least equal to a DUI in its penalties.  Some states go to the extreme and have on the books vehicle forfeiture for even first offense DwS/R if the suspension came from a DUI.  In addition, many states see even a first offense DwS/R as a Felony.  Illinois does both, for example.  They take your car and you face up to a $25,000 fine. You also face up to three years in prison for the FIRST offense.

A DUI arrest is a humbling, expensive nightmare.  A Driving While Suspended/Revoked Offense is the same thing except it is a much easier conviction for the prosecutor since there are only two objective questions to the case:  “Did you have a driving privileges and were you driving?”

Still want to take your chances? If you are required to install an ignition interlock device, call us today at (855) 531-5244 to regain your license legally.

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