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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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Intoxalock’s 2017 summer legislative update

Posted on August 31st, 2017 / By Caitlin Lee

It has been a busy summer in the ignition interlock industry and Intoxalock is here to keep you up to speed on what’s happening in your state.

Intoxalock Legislative UpdateIn June, Texas House Bill 3016, legislation that will allow some first-time offenders to seal their criminal backgrounds was passed. The now dubbed, “Second Chance Law” will make it easier for individuals to apply for jobs if they have first-time and low-level offenses on their records by not requiring them to disclose their offense. The new law only allows for nondisclosure of a first-time DWI. It does not allow for an expungement of the individual’s record.

In July, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed into law House Bill 420, mandating an ignition interlock device for wet reckless charges. Sununu also signed into law House Bill 448, mandating compliance based monitoring for first offenders. 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 month, Oregon passed House Bill 2638, a Bill mirrored after Washington’s regulatory reform and GPS Bill. HB 2638 will create a new program to oversee the vendors and installers of ignition interlock devices to establish standards. The regulatory portion of this bill will take effect on or after July 1st, 2018 with the transfer of oversight from ODOT to OSP in the future.

Also in August, Pennsylvania began the implementation of HB 290 or Act 33, their new first offender law. First offenders with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over .10% now have the opportunity to immediately petition PennDOT for the Ignition Interlock Limited License, getting individuals back on the road safely and quickly. Second, third and subsequent offenders can also petition PennDOT for their Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL), but will still have to serve a portion of their hard suspension.

If you are an attorney, monitoring authority, treatment facility, SR-22 insurance provider or court professional interested in partnering with Intoxalock, please reach out to us directly at Partners@Intoxalock.com.

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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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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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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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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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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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[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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The rolling retest: don’t leave home without It

Posted on December 22nd, 2015 / By Brad Fralick

Good intentions are hard to fault but the sponsors of Ohio’s Annie’s Law legislation have let suspicions lead them to a catastrophic place. Annie’s Law is a bill that has been attempted for the last few sessions to no avail due to intransigence on the part of the Ohio Judicial Conference. The bill was written to greatly strengthen Ohio’s drunk driving laws. The proposed bill forces a first-time drunk driving offender to lose their license for 12 months unless an ignition interlock device is installed for six months, according to nbc4i.com.

The proposal also votes to eliminate rolling retests because of concerns over safety.Intoxalock Rolling Retest

We all know that distracted driving is a problem. It is a problem with many, many causes that is getting worse with the increase in the distractions available within the vehicle (phones and in-car entertainment options). But not all “distractions” are created equal. Somewhere, someone got the idea that ignition interlock rolling retests (the required test of the driver’s breath at random intervals after the driver successfully started the vehicle) would be a distraction that could cause crashes. The reality is in the 30 year history of these devices (and there are more than a third of a million in use right now) there has never been a proven case of this actually happening.

So, what is the harm of adding this change?   To start with, rolling retests were the first anti-circumvention feature added to these devices 25 years ago and they were the first because these tests are vital.   Interlocks were very easy to circumvent back then (as prominently featured in the infamous scene in the movie “40 Year-Old Virgin”) by having someone else blow the test and then by just keeping your vehicle running wherever your alcohol-laced travels would take you.   Rolling retests eliminated this abuse because to continue would mean that you had to bring a designated “blower” with you wherever you went. Even that is not possible now because the latest devices have cameras taking a picture of who is blowing into the device. In a nutshell, this change would make interlocks useless. The misconception that a driver must IMMEDIATELY submit a breath sample when prompted is false. Plenty of time is allowed for the driver to pull over or slow down before taking the retest.

There is also another huge problem with this. Interlock device providers, like any other business, carry liability insurance. Turning off the rolling retest would create such a huge potential liability that no provider could get this insurance, thus no providers could provide these devices for Ohio’s (or any other state’s) program.

I would call that catastrophic.

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