A Potential Solution to the Drunk Driving Epidemic in Georgia
Alcohol impaired drivers claim the lives of approximately 10,000 people per year across the U.S. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The fact that one-third of all traffic-related fatalities still involve alcohol impaired drivers suggests that neither more effective law enforcement tools, such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, nor stiffer penalties for those convicted of DUI have been successful in eradicating the DUI epidemic.
Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation provide compelling evidence regarding the lack of effectiveness of current DUI laws and enforcement. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving every day. While there are 1,400,000 people arrested annually for drunk driving, this is little solace given that this covers about a four day period of alcohol impaired excursions according to the CDC data. The CDC also estimates that the typical violator commits DUI more than 80 times before being arrested. These statistics clearly reflect that current penalties and law enforcement tactics are being ignored by many drivers.
A solution to the DUI epidemic that is being touted by traffic safety organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and some federal traffic safety agencies is the adoption of an ignition interlock program for any DUI conviction which includes a first-time offense. An ignition interlock device (IID) can come in multiple forms and varieties but essentially an IID is a breath test device that is wired to a vehicle's ignition system. The vehicle will not start until the driver of the vehicle provides a breath sample with a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) level that is below a certain threshold.
While it is beyond the purview of this blog to debate the merits of this policy, our Atlanta DUI accident injury attorneys certainly recognize the potential benefit of such a policy. According to one study published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, states that have implemented ignition interlock device programs have experienced a reduction in repeat DUI offenses by an average factor of more than two-thirds. Further, some traffic safety advocates contend that the numbers would be even higher with more consistent enforcement and monitoring to ensure compliance by those sentenced for drunk driving.
There is also evidence that a majority of drivers would embrace this change to make the roads safer. One survey of drivers conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that 88 percent of survey participants supported a requirement that any individual convicted of DUI be subject to mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.
Whether the answer to making our roadways safer involves adopting a mandatory IID penalty for any driver convicted of a DUI or an alternative approach, it is clear that drunk drivers still pose a significant risk to those traveling our streets and highways. Our Atlanta DUI injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.