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Blackout Wednesday: Drive Safe this Thanksgiving Weekend

Posted on November 20th, 2017 / By Eliza Hamilton-Poore

Some holidays are known for binge drinking – St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, and Memorial Day all come to mind, but a new one is on the rise. Blackout Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, has become a favorite holiday for alcohol consumption.

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

NHTSA: Blackout Wednesday
With college students coming back for the holiday and working adults having the next day off, Thanksgiving Eve is a night of reunions and celebration. Unfortunately, the increase in binge drinking has also led to a rise in drunk driving and drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, in the past five years over 800 people have died in drunk driving crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That’s one-third of the total number of fatalities over the holiday.

This Thanksgiving holiday period, remember to drink responsibly. Take the time to line up a designated driver, order a cab or rideshare, or just walk. Be safe and make it to Thanksgiving dinner.

Support Sober Driving

Looking for ways to help keep the roads safe this Thanksgiving? Support NHTSA’s awareness initiative by posting with the hashtags #ThanksgivingEve and #DriveSober.

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

Posted on August 9th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

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

Using Instagram and driving drunk

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

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

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

Drinking and driving

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

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

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

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

Why this matters

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

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

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

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

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

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Teens test their app against the rideshare competition to stop drunk driving

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 16th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation
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Boating while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 states

Posted on May 26th, 2017 / By Melanie Vespestad

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

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

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

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

Iowa laws regarding boating under the influence of alcohol

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

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

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

BAC content for boating

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

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

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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.

 

 

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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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New push to strengthen Kentucky DUI laws

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

Intoxalock KentuckyThe 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.

 

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