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Archive for Friday, July 20, 2012

DUI fatalities drop sharply in wake of recent law

July 20, 2012, 12:18 a.m. Updated July 20, 2012, 8:39 a.m.

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When lawmakers passed legislation in 2011 requiring an ignition interlock for those convicted of their first drunken driving offense, one of the main goals was cutting down on alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

After a year, it appears the law is working, according to preliminary data released by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Between July 1, 2011 — when the state’s new DUI ignition interlock law went into effect — and June 30, 2012, the state recorded 59 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, compared with 125 and 137, respectively, for the previous two years during the same timeframe.

“I think it’s exciting news,” said Greg Benefiel, a Douglas County assistant district attorney who served on the Kansas DUI Commission, which helped craft the legislation. Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern also served on the commission.

Kansas had lagged behind the country in reducing alcohol-related fatalities, seeing increases in recent years as numbers dropped across the country. Alcohol-related traffic fatalities averaged 116 a year between 2000 and 2010 in the state.

Kansas drivers with a DUI conviction now must install an ignition interlock — which requires drivers to blow into a device to show their blood-alcohol level is under .04, half the legal limit — before their vehicle will start.

Under the new law, first-time DUI offenders must use an ignition interlock for a year; drivers with multiple DUI convictions must use it longer.

Kansas joined 14 others states in enacting a first-time offender ignition interlock law. Most states have some form of ignition interlock law, but some only apply to repeat DUI offenders.

Pete Bodyk, traffic safety manager for KDOT, was also on the commission, and cautioned that the preliminary numbers will probably go up some, but he still expects the data to show a significant decline in fatalities since the law was enacted.

While there’s no way to know for sure if the drop in alcohol-related fatalities was a direct result of the new law, Bodyk said “that’s the only thing that’s new. ... Hopefully we’ll see a trend.”

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Kansas Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities

Chart depicts the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Kansas, from July 1 to June 30 of each year. Data Provided by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The most recent year data is preliminary.

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Alcohol-related traffic fatalities

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities decreased between 2010 and 2011, according to data from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The average between 2000 and 2010 was about 116.

Comments

duisamurai 1 year, 9 months ago

Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Are we to assume that half of the fatalities last year were caused by recent first-time offenders who were not required to have interlocks, and that the drop is caused by requiring interlocks for such people? This article is shockingly ignorant.

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MacHeath 1 year, 9 months ago

Looks like we should go back to whatever we were doing in 2000. These statistics mean nothing. Just propoganda from bureaucrats and politicians. Its sad really.

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JHOK32 1 year, 9 months ago

Just one more example that laws & regulations which make plain common sense can improve the quality of life for communities, states, & the entire nation. The Bush's & Brownback's of this country want to bombard Americans with misguided information & scare tactics that all laws & regulations are all a part of Obama's communistic master plan to turn our country into a "socialist state." The truth is that had common sense laws, written during the depression to keep the insatiable greed of Wall street & the banking industry in check, not been repealed in the 1990's, our country would not be in the unbelievable economic disaster we are in today. Common sense laws & regulations can save people's lives & the life of the American economy. Bush sat by & watched as the greed on Wall street literally did more damage to our country than any terrorist could have ever done & then his answer to fix the burning building, after it had already burned to the ground, was to throw our taxpayer money by the trainloads to the very a**holes who caused this unbelievable mess & brought our economy to the brink of total destruction. Please remember this next election day.

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SeaBee 1 year, 9 months ago

"Texas marksman" fallacy.

Should have learned that in any higher level statistics course.

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juma 1 year, 9 months ago

OK, here is a thought. If MADD was founded to stop deadly DUI (a good idea to stop these, agree) and their motive was to raise the drinking ager to 21 as a means to stop DUI (not sure on that logic?) So, now there is conclusive proof that interloc systems do, without argument, reduce DUI fatalities ; then why not remove the Federal Highway Fund blackmail (imposed by two housewives in DC; Nancy and Elizabeth) and let each State determine drinking age with the caveat that the interloc law is in effect.

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pace 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds like a reasonable law, and probably does account for some of the decrease in deaths and accidents. The price of gas, the heat, less people driving, also might account for less fatalities. We should combine this with more tickets for people running yellow or red lights, speeding, reckless and inattentive driving. Most of us have lost loved ones to the road. I also think a lower national speed limit would save both life and energy.

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Onasis 1 year, 9 months ago

I would think the reduction in drinking and driving comes from those offenders getting caught and having to use the interlock system right out the gate. I do not believe they are saying it 'scares' people out of drinking and driving. I don't care if it saves 2 lives, sounds like a law that is WORTH IT.

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mikekt 1 year, 9 months ago

I can just see the future headlines,..... now!!!!

UNDERTAKERS PROTEST IN TOPEKA, OVER DUI INTERLOCK LAW, FOR JOB SECURITY REASONS !

BROWNBACK & STATE LEGISLATURES TO START FREE CAB RIDE PROGRAM TO TAKE DRUNKS WHO ARE LOCED OUT BY AUTO IGNITION INTERLOCKS, TO THE NEAREST LIQUOR SELLERS ! "IT IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS", THEY SAID, AFTER PRIVATE DINER PARTY AT CEDAR CREST MANSION !

A GROWING PROTEST OF AUTO BODY MEN, AMBULANCE DRIVERS, FIRE, POLICE, TOW TRUCK DRIVERS & AMBULANCE CHASING LAWYERS, ER WORKERS ALONG WITH UNDERTAKES ALL LOCK ARMS ON KS CAPITOL STEPS IN PROTEST TO THE STATE INFRINGING ON THEIR JOB SECURITY RIGHTS, WITH LAST YEARS DUI INTERLOCK LAW!

"WANT-TO-BE-VICTIMS" OF A DWI DRIVER & IDIOTS,.... PROTEST DWI INTERLOCK IGNITIONS IN TOPEKA !

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RDE87 1 year, 9 months ago

I do not condone drinking and driving, but if you've ever had to deal with this system you will learn right away that these laws are in place for states to make money, not to prevent drinking and driving.

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RoeDapple 1 year, 9 months ago

I wonder how many wait to drink until the car is under way . . .

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onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

I was one of the first people involved with this technology back in the 80's and there were many holes to the program. ( Which I won't mention in detail in case they are still possible) But the technology when used as a tool to provide DUI offenders a mode of transportation for work, counseling and other basic daily requirements. It is not the answer to the problem of drinking and driving. DUI offenders need to be randomly tested and attend counseling through out their sentence.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

Where did the idea for this story come from? Let me guess, either a neo prohibitionist teetotaler group like MADD or an ignition interlock industry lobbyist. This story lacks even the remotest bit of common sense.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

So the old penalties, social stigma, lawyers fees, court costs, alcohol treatment costs and diversion costs weren't enough. Now, all of the sudden, because of the interlock, people are saying to themselves "whoa, I better not drive drunk tonight, I might have to pay for an ignition interlock device if I get caught".

Right. Correlation does not equal causation. Some of you must have never passed a basic class in statistics.

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kusp8 1 year, 9 months ago

If he's reading it on his cell the charts don't appear

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Keith Richards 1 year, 9 months ago

Shaun this paragraph is confusing. "Between July 1, 2011 — when the state’s new DUI ignition interlock law went into effect — and June 30, 2012, the state recorded 59 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, compared with 125 and 137, respectively, for the previous two years."

Are you saying that the 125 and 137 deaths in the previous two years were the numbers Between July 1, and June 30 of those respective years?

Because 59 deaths in 6 months translates to 118 in one year. That really is not much of a drop from 125.

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jfmrn 1 year, 9 months ago

As a mother whose only daughter was killed by a drunk driver and volunteer for MADD, I am very proud to say that I went to Washington DC and lobbied for this law in Kansas and was so pleased when it passed. More work to be done but it is a step in the right direction.

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onthebreeze 1 year, 9 months ago

Has the fatality occurrance dropped in the other 14 states which also adopted the law?

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