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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.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Ignition Interlock Devices
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New Hampshire closes two loopholes regarding interlocks

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 / By Brad Fralick

Legislators from New Hampshire’s General Court did the right thing last Thursday. With their 2017 session winding down, they passed House Bill 420 and House Bill 448. These bills closed a couple of loopholes that have bedeviled New Hampshire’s interlock program for years.

HB 420 corrects a big oversight in the legislation that created their interlock program. Believe it or not, while first and repeat DUI offenders had to have interlocks before they could be reinstated, drunk drivers who killed did not have to get an interlock prior to being reinstated. That’s right, alcohol-related crashes causing death were left out. Once the legislators realized that, yes indeed, these drivers would get out of prison and be eligible to get a license, these same legislators did the right thing.

HB 448, while less headline grabbing, will have a bigger effect upon traffic safety. This bill gives the Division of Motor Vehicles the power to extend a participant’s interlock period for violations of rolling retests, tampering and removing the device without permission. This concept, called compliance based monitoring, is the hottest trend in improving interlock program effectiveness. States that have moved to this practice have found that the drunk drivers who have learned their lesson get through the interlock requirement without a hitch, but that more than half do not fit that category, and they are constantly getting extended because, indeed, they do have an alcohol problem. But the beauty of this is that these people can still safely keep their jobs, go to school, and be productive members of society because the interlock removes the possibility of them driving drunk again. Everyone wins with effective interlock programs.

Now let’s hope that Governor Sununu signs these bills as everyone expects him to.

Filed Under: Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation
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Arizona passes law to strengthen interlock program

Posted on May 25th, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

Arizona is taking steps to strengthening drunk driving and ignition interlock laws statewide. Earlier this week, Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1150 into law, effective July 1, 2018. This will regulate Arizona’s ignition interlock device laws and processes and will make Arizona’s program one of the most cutting edge ones in the country. With best practices outlined in the new law, Arizona’s ignition interlock program will be an effective model for other states to replicate.Intoxalock ignition interlock device Arizona

The new law will require ignition interlock vendors and service centers to obtain specific insurance and will set vendor bond requirements. It will also implement jurisdiction requirements to ensure that the interlock providers in the state are committed to making the process convenient for Arizona drivers. Effective July 1, 2018, ignition interlock vendors will be required to have at least one installation location in every county throughout the state.

In addition, this law will allow the Department of Transportation to increase the time periods between required servicing of the interlock devices.

Perhaps the most important change this law will bring is the type of ignition interlock device that must be installed. Once effective, the new law will require ignition interlock devices to possess advanced technology capabilities that make interlock programs more effective and transparent. States that have implemented advanced technology requirements have seen dramatic decreases in the number of repeat drunk driving offenders and have seen drunk driving deaths fall.

“Arizona is taking huge steps in the right direction. Lives will be saved and the roads will be safer for everybody. We support advanced technology and a strict interlock program to maximize the effectiveness and believe that all states should make the changes Arizona is making,” Brad Fralick, Intoxalock Director of Government Relations said.

Intoxalock currently has 59 certified installation locations in Arizona. With 24/7 bilingual customer service, an easy-to-use device and special pricing discounts, Intoxalock is committed to being the interlock leader in the state.

Filed Under: Legislation
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Teen drunk driving deaths spark a need for awareness

Posted on May 9th, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Even more, a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drunk driver. (MADD) Teen drunk driving is an epidemic and it needs to be put in the spotlight to create awareness about the severity of it.

Florida residents and parents nationwide are mourning the deaths of two teenagers involved in a drunk driving crash over the weekend. A third teenager is still in the hospital recovering. The car veered off the road and slammed into a tree just minutes after the teens posted shocking video clips to social media, according to abcactionnews.com.

intoxalock teen drunk drivingIn the videos, the teens are showing off bottles of alcohol and are smoking. A sister of one of the teens posted the videos to social media in hopes that they would serve as a warning for other people. Ultimately, she hopes they will save lives. The video has been shared thousands of times and the family is requesting that others continue passing on the message.

“I hope the young ones coming up will make better choices.  It’s frightening.  It’s terrible.  It didn’t have to happen,” Beverly Stroup said. Stroup and her husband drove by the crash just minutes after it happened.

Ignition interlock devices can be critical tools to help prevent drunk driving by teens. Intoxalock offers special pricing on the voluntary installation of ignition interlock devices for young drivers 23 and under.  For less than $1 a day, parents can add an additional level of safety to their child’s vehicle and can actively separate drinking from driving.

The statistics surrounding teen drunk driving are startling. About one in seven teens binge drink and it’s been proven that kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash. (MADD) Intoxalock is committed to helping prevent drunk driving and ignition interlock devices can be critical to preventing teens from starting a vehicle while intoxicated. Call us today at (855) 531-5244 to learn more about protecting your teens from drinking and driving.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving
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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.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, News
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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.

 

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Ignition Interlock Devices, Legislation, Locations, News
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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.

 

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Legislation
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[Press release] Intoxalock calls for stronger drunk driving legislation

Posted on February 21st, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

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.

Read the full press release here.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, Legislation, News
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Florida is proposing harsher penalties for repeatedly refusing breath alcohol tests

Posted on February 17th, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

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.

Filed Under: Legislation
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3 out of 4 drunk driving offenders continue to drive with license suspension [infographic]

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 / By Carly Flaws

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.

Safest_path_11x17_branded

Filed Under: Drunk Driving, News
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