The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

Shocking News: Hammered Drivers Kill More Than Tipsy Drivers

It’s that time of year again. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration annually promotes a crackdown on drunk driving in the weeks leading up to Labor Day. In the coming weeks, expect a lot more DUI checkpoints and fleets of officers on patrol during prime drinking hours. With school back in session soon, this is prime time for college kids to get that “one last party” in before hitting the books.

As part of a press conference commemorating the crackdown, cleverly coined, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” the NHTSA released a statistical study on drunk drivers, reports the Washington Post. The study analyzed alcohol-related traffic fatalities and broke the numbers down to the driver’s age, gender, and of course, blood alcohol content.

The findings of the study seem to merely reflect common sense. More than two-thirds of the 10,228 drunk driving deaths in 2010 were caused by those with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. In other words, those drivers were hammered. Hammered drivers are poor drivers. Poor drivers are more likely to kill people.

We’re not trying to be glib. It’s just, so, not news. There wasn’t a spike in DUI-related deaths. In fact, they’ve generally declined each year. There was merely a statistical confirmation on what our intuition already told us.

One other issue discussed during the press conference was a recent Congressional incentive package. States will be receive extra funding if they enact more severe ignition interlock laws. The new incentives were passed in late July after much delay and will provide $20 million in incentives to states that require first-time offenders to install the devices in their cars.

That is news. Our current laws in California don’t generally require ignition interlock devices, except in severe cases such as repeat offenders and extremely high BAC first-time offenders. There is, however, a pilot program for certain counties, including Los Angeles, which does require IIDs for first-time offenses. Presumably, if a drop in repeat offenders is found in these test counties, the program will become statewide.

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