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Tennessee father sues county after repeat drunk driving offender kills his son

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 / By Eliza Hamilton-Poore

Tennessee father sues over repeat drunk driver | IntoxalockIgnition interlock devices were designed to keep the roadways safe by barring inebriated people from driving their vehicles. The devices are so effective that many states require them to be installed in the vehicles of all convicted drunk drivers. Tennessee is one of these states. That’s why the death of Kenya Matthews, a Shelby county boy, came as even more of a shock upon discovering that the drunk driver who hit him was required to get an ignition interlock device months ago.

Matthew’s was struck by a drunk driver while riding his bike earlier this year. The driver, Melvin Williams, was just three months out of being arrested for reckless driving. Part of Williams’ sentence was installing an ignition interlock device on his vehicle before driving again, something he failed to do. Williams was still able to drive illegally because there are currently no follow-ups to check that convicted DUI offenders have the ignition interlock device installed. Because of this loophole in the system, Williams was able to avoid installing an ignition interlock device, as so he was once again able to drive while intoxicated and Kenya Matthews lost his life.

Stronger interlock laws will prevent deaths

Kenya Matthew’s father, Thaddeus Matthews, has decided to go forward with a lawsuit against Shelby County to raise awareness of this flaw in the system. Tennessee has a strong stance against drunk driving with its first offender law, but more needs to be done. The problem doesn’t end at Tennessee either; many states have these loopholes.

We can only hope that more steps are taken to ensure an offender installs an IID so more lives won’t be lost. Whether having the installer call the state to confirm installation, or having the offender bring their vehicle in for inspection, more can be done to keep our roads and communities safe.

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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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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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New bill would make it a felony nationwide to drunk drive with a child in the car

Posted on December 22nd, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice has proposed a National version of Leandra’s Law, (also referred to as The Child Passenger Protection Act), a law that was enacted on December 18th, 2009 in New York, which makes it a felony to drive under the influence (DUI) with a child (under the age of 15) in your vehicle.

Leandra Rosado, 11, was killed while on her way to a slumber party on October 11th, 2009. She was one of seven children in the vehicle that was being driven by an intoxicated family friend. After her death, her father, Lenny Rosado, tirelessly lobbied and pushed for tougher laws and penalties to be passed in the state.

Leandra RosadoNow, seven years since the enacting of Leandra’s law in New York State, Congresswoman Rice has proposed a National version of the law.

Rice’s proposed law requires states to enact and enforce the following penalties with regard to an individual who drives under the influence by alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle:

  • The individual can be charged with a felony subject to up to four years imprisonment;
  • Will require the individual, if convicted, to install and maintain an ignition interlock system (IID) on any car the individual owns or operates
  • Will suspend the individual’s state driver’s license during the course of prosecution, unless the individual installs and maintains an ignition interlock system (IID)
  • The individual will have to undergo an alcohol abuse, substance abuse or mental health assessment. If the assessment indicates the need for treatment, authorizes the appropriate court or monitoring agency to require the individual to undergo treatment as part of the individual’s sentence or as a condition for reissuance of the individual’s driver’s license
  • Will require authorities to file a report with the appropriate State Register of child abuse if the individual is the parent, guardian or custodian of the child passenger, or is in any way legally responsible for the child passenger.

If passed, starting in Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation would withhold federal funding to states who do not comply with the law.

According to Rice, “While most states have taken some action to crack down on those who commit this crime, Leandra’s Law in New York is the toughest and most comprehensive child endangerment law in the country, and this bill will make it the national standard.”

Congressman Rice plans to present the bill once Congress reconvenes next month.

 

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Avoid a DUI this holiday season [infographic]

Posted on December 21st, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

The holiday season is often accompanied by a lot of food, time spent traveling and an increased consumption of alcohol. With that comes an increase in the number of drunk driving offenses in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Intoxalock has compiled some tips and resources to help you avoid drinking and driving this holiday season.

  1. Plan ahead. Know how much you plan on drinking over a set number of hours and have a plan to get home safely.
  2. Use a ridesharing service or taxi to transport you home. There are many applications that help drinkers “find a ride.”
  3. Politely decline alcohol if you plan to drive.
  4. Look out for others. Help impaired people around you make the safe choice to not drink and drive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 700 people are injured or killed in drunk driving crashes each year during the holiday season (the time spanning between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day). Take the steps necessary to make the roads a safer place for everybody.

Click here to read the full press release.

Intoxalock-holiday drunk driving

 

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3 things to expect after a drunk driving conviction

Posted on November 15th, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

Following a drunk driving conviction, or DUI, it’s probably assumed that there will be some type of fine or fee and that you may temporarily lose driving privileges. Beyond that, the repercussions may be unknown. In reality, a drunk driving conviction usually brings with it a list of expenses and additional requirements and provisions.Ignition interlock devices can help with alcoholism

Increased auto insurance rates
In most cases, you will be required to obtain an SR-22 policy following a drunk driving conviction. This is a certificate that proves that you carry liability insurance. While the cost of the actual SR-22 certificate is minimal, it will most likely raise your insurance rates overall. An SR-22 is a red flag to most insurance companies and will likely classify you as a high-risk driver. In addition, not all insurance companies will continue to insure you after a DUI so your options may be limited.

Ignition interlock device
All states have laws supporting or requiring the use of an ignition interlock device following a drunk driving conviction. Over half of states require an ignition interlock device for all first-time DUI offenses. Most other states require them for second and consecutive offenses and for extreme first offenses. Costs associated with the ignition interlock device could include a monthly lease fee, installation and de-installation costs and monthly maintenance fees. In addition, you may be charged if your device goes into a lockout status due to not servicing it in time or from providing too many failed breath samples.

Legal fees
In most states, impaired driving is a criminal offense that will probably require you to go to court. While it is possible to do it alone, you will probably want to hire an attorney that specializes in DUI to help you through the process. The DUI process can be complicated and a skilled attorney will help to make sure you complete all requirements needed to regain your full license as quick as possible. In addition, an attorney can help identify if there are any alternate measures that may be an option, such as a prolonged period with an ignition interlock device in exchange for license suspension.
The process to regain your license after a drunk driving incident can be complicated and expensive. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of all the possible repercussions that could follow when they make the decision to drink and drive. By bringing awareness to the hidden dangers, seemingly never-ending fees and complicated steps required following a DUI, hopefully more people will choose to separate drinking from driving. The cost of a taxi or an Uber ride is minuscule when looking at what a DUI could cost.

If you are a DUI attorney, a monitoring authority or a judge and would like to stay connected with Intoxalock, please contact us at Partners@Intoxalock.com to be added to our affiliate communications.

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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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A DUI is no laughing matter, even for a clown

Posted on February 10th, 2016 / By Carly Flaws

A veteran Alabama sheriff thought he had already seen all there was to see in the field, until he experienced a recent traffic stop in Pinson, a city outside Birmingham. The Jefferson County officer pulled over 51-year old Joel Sloan around 8:30 p.m. after a concerned motorist called him in. The motorist reported seeing Sloan’s red Ford SUV weaving in and out of traffic.

The catch? As the officer approached Sloan’s vehicle, he noticed Sloan was dressed head-to-toe in a clown costume. Sloan was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after his Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC) registered above the legal limit. Sloan confessed he had consumed “only a few drinks” at a local restaurant that night…all while in his clown suit.

Not only was Sloan arrested for DUI. He also had an outstanding felony warrant for first-degree theft. Even after his arrest, Sloan offered up no explanation for his rather odd outfit choice. He did, however, pose for a photo before he was forced to take his costume off.

According to Al.com, Chief Deputy Randy Christian said that no instance of drunk driving is a laughing matter but it isn’t every day that someone dressed as a clown is booked into jail.

In a comment on Sloan’s mugshot posted on the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, one person asked, “Does this look like the unicycle guy from the waffle house?!”

It looks like Sloan is well known in his community.Alabama clown arrested for DUI

While everyone agrees that a DUI is an extremely serious matter, there was some fun to be had with the photos of Sloan. A Facebook commenter asked, ” I have a serious question. When he was pulled over, did 17 other clowns get out of the car with him….lol. Just kidding, good job protecting our families and streets.”

Another commented, “DUI is nothing to clown about. Good job JCSO.”

A DUI can happen to anybody. Intoxalock offers voluntary alcohol monitoring with ignition interlock devices in the state of Alabama. Ignition interlock devices can be installed for as little as $49.95 a month to help guarantee sober driving for your entire family. To learn more about being proactive in separating drinking from driving, call us today at (855) 531-5244.

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5 ways to prevent drunk driving this holiday season

Posted on November 25th, 2015 / By Carly Flaws

With the holiday season among us, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to launch their “Pre-Holiday Season Drunk Driving Prevention” campaign that will run from November 28 – December 15, 2015. This is part of their broader “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign that has been gaining popularity in the media. The pre-holiday campaign reminds people to not wreck the holidays by drinking and driving.

The anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to holiday drunk driving preventioneducate people on the dangers of driving after drinking. In 2013, over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents and due to frequent holiday celebrations, this time of year is especially dangerous. Over 730 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in December of 2013 alone. (NHSTA)

Below are five things to remember when celebrating this holiday season:

  1. It only takes one drink to impair your reaction times when driving.
  2. Designate a sober driver ahead of time. If that isn’t an option, use a taxi or Uber.
  3. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement immediately.
  4. If you see somebody you think is attempting to get behind the wheel while impaired, take their keys and help them return home safely.
  5. Leave your keys at home if you are planning on consuming alcohol.

It doesn’t take one to be falling over drunk in order for them to be too impaired to drive. All too often, people think they know their own limits but continue to put themselves and others at risk when they get behind the wheel.

It’s important to define your role at the start of any festivities that include drinking. Are you going to drink or are you going to drive? Even if you’ve consumed alcohol but feel ok to drive, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

Contact us today to find out how an ignition interlock can guarantee sober driving.

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Will an ignition interlock device damage my vehicle?

Posted on November 9th, 2015 / By Carly Flaws

Intoxalock Ignition interlock devices are professionally installed and do not damage your vehicle. Intoxalock strives to provide top-level services, without damaging or compromising the functionality or electrical system of your car, no matter the make or model.

More and more states mandate the use of ignition interlock devices each year for first and multiple-time DUI offenders. Currently, 25 states have mandatory provisions for all offenses, and several more highly incentivize the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Thus, the experts at Intoxalock’s over 1,600 installation locations nationwide will be able to adhere, efficiently and skillfully, to the needs of your particular vehicle.

Intoxalock will take care of the installation process from start to finish.

Learn more about installing an ignition interlock device today by calling us at (855) 531-5244!

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