Georgia drunk driving accident victims face a life-altering sentence following the accident, one potentially filled with pain, fear, nightmares and other challenges. The DUI driver faces legal penalties as a result of the decision to drive while impaired: financial penalties, jail and other punishments. A repeat DUI offender must install ignition interlocks; these devices require the driver to submit breath samples and the engine will not start if the breath registers higher than a pre-programmed blood alcohol concentration level.
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.
Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.
According to a study by the NHTSA, some DUI deterrents are more effective than others. For example, zero tolerance laws proved largely ineffective at reducing the incidence of DUI fatalities. The premise behind such laws was that anyone under 21 with a measurable amount of alcohol in their system could be punished regardless of whether their blood alcohol concentration was above a set limit (0.02 percent in Georgia for those under 21 years old). Drunk driving rates in many states remained similar when comparing rates two years before and two years after zero tolerance policy enactment in the 1990s. Additional ineffective measures include short jail sentences, large fines and increased alcohol prices.
A more effective measure is administrative license suspensions (ALS). Interestingly, criminal license suspension laws had little measurable effect on drunk driving while administrative laws and their ability to impose virtually immediate punishment have been effective drunk driving deterrents. The NHTSA study supposes that a punishment's timing is more significant than its severity. A driver's license is an essential part of daily activities so the threat of losing it serves as an effective deterrent. Similarly, immediate suspension of a license upon failure of a breath test reduces fatalities by approximately five percent.
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.
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.