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NTSB pushes ignition interlock devices for first time offenders

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is meeting to review a recommendation that all states require convicted first-time drunken driving offenders to use an ignition interlock device in their car thereafter. The measure is already required in 17 states where the dashboard breath test prevents the car's ignition should the would-be driver have too high of an alcohol concentration on their breath.

As noted in our previous post, South Carolina currently only requires an ignition interlock device after someone has been convicted of their second DUI. Many believe that such a legislative initiative that the NTSB is proposing, if implemented, would cause unnecessary and undue hardship on those who made one mistake and have already learned their lesson the hard way.

The reason for the recommendation is a new study which suggests that majority of wrong-way driving crashes on highways occurs with drivers whose blood alcohol levels are usually twice the legal limit. In analyzing over 1,500 wrong-way collisions which took place between 2004-2009, 59 percent of the DUI accidents involved a driver with blood alcohol levels over two times the state's limit. Another 10 percent were over the limit somewhere between the actual limit and twice that amount.

The NTSB is very interested in finding solutions for reducing drunk driving accidents as collisions involving DUIs have accounted for roughly 30 percent of all highway fatalities since 1995. One-fifth of wrong-way collisions are also fatal, and with many of them being caused by those heavily under the influence, the NTSB is anxious to implement legislation to reduce these numbers with any means possible.

It is important to remember that if you find yourself in a situation where you are suspected of driving under the influence, that you have legal recourse to protect yourself. Please contact a DUI defense attorney in such a situation.

Source: scnow.com, "Wrong-way driving crashes claim hundreds of lives," Dec. 11, 2012

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