Study: Interlock Devices For First Time DUI Offenders Saves Lives

The Washington Post published an article this month about a study performed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which revealed that traffic fatalities have declined by 7 percent in states that mandate ignition interlocks for first-time drunken-driving offenders.

Interlock devices are installed in vehicles and require drivers to blow into them before the car’s ignition will start the engine. Currently, 22 states require interlock devices for first time DUI offenders. Other states require them for repeat offenders or those with a particularly high blood alcohol content. Some states let the judge decide whether an interlock is appropriate.

The study tracked fatalities for about five years before states began passing interlock laws in the late 1980s through 2013, when all states required them under some circumstances.  The Hopkins study suggested that even those with no previous DUI convictions would think twice about driving under the influence if faced with the prospect that a first-time offense would require them to use an interlock. It says partial laws that don’t mandate the devices for all offenders are less effective. More than a third of the 35,092 fatal car crashes in 2015 involved a driver who had been drinking; 29 percent of them were legally drunk and 20 percent had a blood alcohol content almost twice the legal limit or higher.

I think it is safe to conclude that the states that require interlock devices for first time offenders is saving lives. Drivers are more hesitant to even attempt to drive after drinking if they know they have to face the interlock. I think it would be important to take these findings and perform studies that involve distracted drivers. Wouldn’t you agree that drivers would be more hesitant to pick up their phones while driving if they knew there were very stiff penalties if they were caught texting and driving or they cause car accident while using their cell phone. I think this study is important and we could have predicted the outcome. Now it’s time to use this study into other areas of traffic law, including distracted drivers.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

NTSB Recommends States Lower Blood Alcohol Level That Constitutes Drunk Driving

About fifteen years ago,
the National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) made a huge push in this
country to lower to the blood alcohol content that constitutes drunk driving to
.08. Through the federal government they were able to put pressure on
individual states by withholding federal funding for road construction unless
states complied by enacting the new law. This tactic worked and was basically
applauded by lawmakers and interest groups as it appeared to make the roads
safer against drunk drivers.

Flash forward to 2013
and the NTSB is now convinced that states should again lower the legal limit
for driving to .05, this according to a report from NBC Online News. According
to the NTSB 1
people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are injured,
according to the NTSB. While that’s a big improvement from the 20,000 who died
in alcohol-related accidents 30 years ago, it remains a consistent threat to
public safety. 

the NTSB points out most countries in Europe, Asia and Australia have all
lowered the legal BAC limit to .05.  When Australia dropped its BAC level
from .08 to .05, provinces reported a 5-18 percent drop in traffic
fatalities. The NTSB reports that at .05 BAC, some drivers begin having
difficulties with depth perception and other visual functions.  At .07,
cognitive abilities become impaired. 

At .05 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by 39
percent. At .08 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by more than 100

The NTSB believes that if all 50 states changed their standard to
.05, nearly 1,000 lives could be saved each year.  It is also considering
other steps to help bring down the death rates on America’s roads.

The numbers are hard to argue with here.  If drivers fear
being arrested after just a few beers, then there will probably be less drunk
drivers on the road. And, ultimately, this will lead to less car accidents and
traffic fatalities. Regardless, I do not believe this law change is going to
happen overnight. The restaurant, beer and spirit lobby is going push back hard
against this type of rule change. Their argument will be that a lower BAC level
will punish otherwise responsible drinkers and still will not keep hardcore
drinkers off the road. This is a new development worth following in the months
to come.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago trafficaccident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney
Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384.

A Third Of Cook County Fatalities Linked To Drunk Drivers

The Chicago Sun Times recently released  car accident fatality statistics , which showed that from 1994 to 2008, one third  of all  Cook County car accident fatalities were related to drunk driving. The analysis was performed by Scripps Howard New Services.

As part of the project, Scripps Howard researchers counted the number of deaths on every road in America, using data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Scripps analyzed 562,712 fatal accidents from 1994 to 2008 that claimed 627,433 lives.

While the carnage has fallen in recent years — 37,261 individuals died in vehicular accidents in 2008 — that’s still more than 10 times the number who died in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Most of the traffic fatalities can be attributed to excessive speed, alcohol-impairment or failure to wear seat belts. Drivers distracted while texting, eating or using their cell phones are also a growing concern.

“People may feel more comfortable drinking and driving in rural areas, thinking that they are not as likely to get caught as on major roads,” concluded Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident or have been charged with a DUI or other traffic violation, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.