DUI Deaths Drop, Ignition Interlock Devices Credited

by on July 20, 2012

in Uncategorized

DUI legislation advocates are calling a recent drop in drunk driving deaths a victory, and rightfully so. No one wants more people dying as a result of drunk driving. But many are saying that new laws regarding ignition interlock devices (IID) are the reason for the decline.

The new IID law went into effect July 1, 2011. It requires an IID to be put in the cars of every first-time drunk driver.

According to LJWorld.com, there were 59 alcohol related traffic deaths between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. This is in contrast to 125 during the same period in 2010 and 137 in 2009.

Ignition interlock devices require a breath test for the driver before the engine will start. It’s like having a personal breathalyzer test every single time you want to go somewhere.

The drop in fatalities is positive.

Greg Benefiel, a Douglas County assistant DA who helped write the legislation calls the drop “exciting news.”

First time offenders are required to have the devices for one year. Multiple-DUI offenders are required to have it for longer.

While not all states require ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders, most do have some ignition interlock laws.

“There’s no way to know for sure if the drop in alcohol-related fatalities was a direct result of the new law,” said Pete Bodyk, traffic safety manager for KDOT. But, he went on to say, that law is the only obvious change.

Organizations like MADD are big advocates of tough drunk driving laws, and specifically for ignition interlock first offense requirements by states. And while they operate under the idea of saving lives, many say they are nothing more than a powerful lobbyist group.

While everyone can get behind safer roads and fewer DUI deaths, there are legitimate reasons why a 1st offense requirement may be necessarily harsh, and a serious burden to average citizens who made a one time mistake that will never happen again.

When you are charged with drunk driving in the state of Kansas, you face some of the most severe DUI penalties in the nation. In addition to potential mandatory jail time and fines, you will be ordered to drug and alcohol safety action education program and/or treatment, and 100 hours of community service.

If you have prior DUI convictions on your record, the penalties you face will only be more severe.

When you are up against charges like these, you need an advocate on your side. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be no way to avoid penalties altogether, but an attorney can assist you in exploring what options are available. Contact me today to discuss the charges against you and find out how I can help.

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