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Georgia Legislators Introduce Bills for Ignition Interlock Devices for all DUI Offenders

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.

 

Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Georgia DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.

 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently released a statement saying he recommends that states create tougher regulations for first-time DUI offenders. Additionally, the NHTSA published guidelines on how states can implement programs that require ignition interruption interlock devices for DUI offenders. Two Georgia legislators are now advocating that such ignition interlocks be required for first-time DUI offenders.

 

The legislators have each proposed bills that would require ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders. Both bills and the legislators have been praised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD has been a longtime advocate of innovative measures to prevent impaired driving.

 

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the installation of an ignition interlock device resulted in a 67 percent greater decrease of repeat DUI arrests compared to DUI offenders who only had their licenses suspended. This suggests that ignition interlocks are significantly more effective at preventing repeat DUI arrests then merely suspending an offender's license.

 

Georgia DUI offenders who have at least two convictions must install ignition interlock devices on all vehicles they own; Georgia law prohibits such offenders from operating vehicles that are not equipped with such devices. If a driver has "habitual offender" status based on two or more DUI convictions and the offender is placed on probation, an ignition interlock device must be used for six months after the probationary license has been issued as a condition of probation.

 

Offenders who have an ignition interlock device are issued an ignition interlock-limited driving permit; this restricts the holder to drive for specific purposes (to work, school, regularly scheduled treatment or support sessions or meetings and monthly monitoring visits with the permit holder's ignition interlock device service provider).

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the most effective way to reduce drunk driving deaths is requiring DUI offenders to have mandatory ignition interlocks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that drivers convicted of DUI who have an ignition interlock device on their vehicles are 65 percent less likely to commit another alcohol-related traffic violation within the first year after their arrest.

 

If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

 


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia