There will be no more leniency if the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has its way.
According to YAHOO News, officials with the NTSB are recommending that every state enact a law to mandate ignition interlock devices for drunk driving offenders, including first-time offenders. They say that it's the most effective way to help to reduce the risks of these kinds of accidents.
Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers understand that about a third of the national 32,000 annual traffic fatalities are caused in accidents involving a drunk driver. Many are even repeat offenders. What an ignition interlock device would do is require a convicted driver to submit a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading through a breathalyzer before they would be allowed to start to the car.
In particular, this new proposal serves to fight wrong-way drivers. Each year, close to 400 people are killed in wrong-way driving car accidents on high-speed highways. Close to 70 percent of the time, these drivers are drunk.
Currently, there are only 17 states that require first-time offfenders to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Currently in the state of California, a judge can order you to install an ignition interlock device for any offense that is drunk driving-related. Most often, only first-time conviction interlocks are sentenced if a driver returned a BAC of 0.15 or higher. The NHTSB wants it to be a punishment for all drunk drivers, not just those who are really drunk.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, ignition interlocks help to reduce the risks of a repeat violation by 40 to 95 percent.
These things aren't fun and they're awfully costly, too. If you're sentenced to an ignition interlock, your better break out your pocketbook. It's going to cost you $40 in administrative fees, $15 in optional restriction fees, maintenance fees and all other required fees.
You can't cheat these devices either. They analyze your specific breathing pattern, they come with a short cord so they can't be reached to the back seat and they require random tests while on the road. If you're busted trying to mess with one of these devices, you can find yourself in some deep trouble!
With the holidays in full swing, we can expect a rise in the number of drunk drivers. During the months of November and December we see the increase. It's because Americans are taking vacation time, students are out of school and more are out to travel. With more on our roadways and more holiday celebrations underway, we see more irresponsible drivers hoping behind the wheel thinking that they're okay to drive after a few drinks. The truth of the matter is that every drop of alcohol affects your safety behind the wheel. Stay safe, stay sober and stay alive out there! Always designate a sober driver to get you home if alcohol is involved in your celebration plans.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving car accident, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call (800) 872-5925.
L.A. Traffic Safety: Halting Drunk Drivers through Holiday Season, California Injury Lawyers, December 9, 2012
Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise in California, California Injury Lawyers, December 7, 2012