MIAMI BEACH – Today, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has called for every state to enact laws that would require an ignition interlock device for anyone who has been convicted of a drunk driving offense. This would include first time offenders. The device prevents the person from starting a car’s engin if their breath tests positive for alcohol.
The device prevents a person from starting a car if the alcohol reading is too high. The NTSB says that it is the best way of preventing further crashes. If the blood alcohol concentration is .02 percent or .04 percent, depending on the device, the car won’t start. The breathalyzer is mounted on the car’s dashboard.
The device is currently required for convicted drunken drivers in 17 states. According the the NTSB, drunk drivers account for more than a third of the nations 32,000 traffic deaths a year.
The Board also pushed for car makers to research how the an infared device rather than a breathalyzer test could be utilized and installed in all cars.
The NTSB also studied wrong-way driver accidents. Apparently, 59 percent of the wrong-way accidents studied involved alcohol levels over twice the legal limit. In 10 percent of wrong-way accidents, the alcohol levels were at .08 to .14. Another 15 percent of the drivers in the study were over the age of 70.
In Florida, first time convicted drivers are not required to have such a device installed. In fact, in Miami-Dade County, the State Attorney’s Office has a “Back on Track” program. This program allows a first time offender to complete a course and have his or her case dismissed. Prior to about a year ago, this program was not available.
We are Miami Beach and Miami personal injury lawyers and handle wrong-way automobile injury crash cases as well as alcohol related car accident crashes. Every year a good percentage of our cases involved alcohol. And, the injuries in these accidents are usually more devastating.
Let us know if you think that Florida should enact such a requirement for a first time convicted drunk driver to have an ignition interlock device installed. To read more about the National Transportation Safety Board and its actions, go to www.ntsb.gov.