More than 30% of people arrested for driving under the influence have been convicted of the same crime in the past, and these repeat offenders pose the greatest threat to themselves and others on the road: drivers involved in fatal auto accidents who were at or above the legal limit of 0.08% were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were their sober counterparts, according to the CDC. A Costa Mesa attorney discusses how a recent NHTSA proposal aims to prevent these drunks from driving.
Last Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx proposed that all states require first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device—a breathalyzer attached to the ignition that prevents the car from starting or shuts it down if the driver has been drinking—in their vehicles, and the NHTSA released state guidelines for overseeing the programs.
At present, all states have some form of ignition interlock law, with 18 states and 4 California counties, Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare, and Sacramento, mandating or highly incentivizing the devices for all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Studies and statistics suggest that not only are fatal alcohol-related crashes increasing but also that highly intoxicated drivers are causing them: after decreasing for six years, fatalities in accidents involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012 to 10,322, the majority of which were caused by drivers with blood alcohol concentrations that were nearly twice the legal limit.
While many of these drivers may have made poor decisions after a night out at the bar, our Costa Mesa attorneys know others could be the type of chronic alcohol abusers who often have multiple DUI convictions, still cruising our roads and causing auto accidents because they can. Ignition interlock devices could stop them.
For more information on the NHTSA’s proposal and state laws concerning ignition interlock devices or to discuss a specific legal matter with an attorney in our office, please call 888-834-5055 or contact us online.