Archive for Monday, September 9, 2013

MADD notes drop in alcohol-related deaths after passage of ignition interlock law

September 9, 2013


— Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped 30 percent since a strong ignition interlock law went into effect, advocates of the law said today.

"Our progress in the fight to eliminate drunk driving in Kansas is significant," said Chris Mann, who is chair of the advisory board for Kansas Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "Through MADD's work with lawmakers and law enforcement, we are making Kansas roads safer for everyone."

In 2011, the Legislature enacted a law requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunken drivers. The law requires a DUI offender to install an ignition interlock, or in-car breathalyzer, device. The driver must blow into the device to prove he or she is sober before the car will start.

Research indicates that requiring an ignition interlock for all drunken driving offenders reduces repeat offenses by two-thirds and significantly cuts the number of drunken driving deaths, MADD said.

In Kansas, the number of drunken driving deaths has fallen from 138 in 2010 to 94 in 2012.

Of the 20 states that have passed similar ignition interlock laws, Kansas is one of only three that put in a sunset provision.

MADD urged the Legislature to repeal the sunset provision, which would take effect on July 1, 2015 — meaning interlock devices would no longer be required.

"Lawmakers must allow more lives to be saved by taking action in 2014 to eliminate the sunset clause of this lifesaving interlock law," said MADD National President Jan Withers.


imastinker 4 years, 8 months ago

I am still skeptical that these things make us that much safer, except for repeat offenders.

Fatalities were going way down anyway:

Personally I'd like to see a much higher limit for first time offenders to get the device, like twice the legal limit. All second offenders should know better. I've been saying it for years, but I'd love MADD to show up at bars with a breathalyzer for people to see exactly how drunk is too drunk. Many of us don't know.

*full disclosure - Neither I nor anyone I know well has had a DUI.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

I looked at that chart, and I didn't see "fatalities going way down" at all.

I saw them going up and down over the years.

Also, according to the article the law was written in 2011, and there's a clear drop in 2011, and then also in 2012.

I'm curious - why twice the limit for first time offenders?

someguy 4 years, 8 months ago

We've also had below average rainfall since the interlock law was passed. Articles like this are the reason we need more comprehensive statistics education at all levels.

What is missing in the article is any evidence that interlock devices reduce crashes where the driver is impaired. MADD's website sites a single, limited study that does not appear to be very thorough.

Drunk driving is a real problem, but MADD is a near-hysterical organization with a history of distorting scientific data. Take anything they say with a grain of salt.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

We don't need that specific evidence.

The point of interlock devices is to prevent people from driving drunk, not to let them drive drunk and somehow not hurt anybody.

Evidence for your claim about MADD?

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

If the device is designed to stop people from driving drunk, why don't all cars have them?

The devices are scarlet letters and therefore a cruel punishment and should be unconstitutional,

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

That's actually a very good idea, and my wife suggested it.

I'd be glad for all cars to have them - how about you?

Really? Having an interlock device is "cruel and unusual" punishment? I think not - there's a lot that's much worse and apparently acceptable, like putting people in cages and treating them like animals.

Having demonstrated the tendency to drive drunk, it's completely reasonable that we might want to prevent that person from doing that again.

Do you drive drunk? I never have, so I don't understand why people are so intent on doing it, and not being punished or prevented from doing it.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

"I'd be glad for all cars to have them - how about you?"

I'd bypass it as soon as I got home.

"Really? Having an interlock device is "cruel and unusual" punishment?"

That and it's an unconstitutional search. There is no probable cause.

"reasonable that we might want to prevent that person from doing that again."

Take away their license.

"Do you drive drunk?"

Not in the last 25 years.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, you're just dying to go to jail, aren't you?

What makes an interlock device "cruel and unusual", given that as I mentioned, we put people in cages and treat them like animals?

Absolutely there's probably cause, given by their conviction for drunk driving, if we're talking about them as given after that. Without any such conviction, the question is whether or not it's an "unreasonable" search and that's open to discussion and debate. Given the prevalence of alcohol related accidents and fatalities, it could easily be argued that it's very reasonable in fact.

The averages, according to another story, are 5 alcohol related accidents/day and 1 alcohol related fatality every 3 days in KS.

Taking somebody's license away doesn't stop them from driving, or driving drunk. Interlock devices are much more effective at preventing drunk driving, although of course not perfect.

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry that you feel it's your right to drive drunk, but my right to not be hit by you trumps your right. Maybe that is hysterical, but most people know at least 1 person who has been killed or in an accident because of drunk driving. I know 2 people. 1 who was innocent, 1 who was the drunk driver. I grieve for both.

Kyle Chandler 4 years, 8 months ago

Tugging at those heart strings leads to more common sense i hear. Maybe we should just have a perimeter DUI/Police/Nazi checkpoint surrounding every city 24/7/365. Then another ring of checkpoints around the downtown area every night from 5pm to 5am......this will ensure the survival of our enlightened species.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

There are obvious things that wouldn't be connected to such a law, but reducing drunk driving isn't one of them.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

I won't argue their effectiveness as it is obvious. However, I think requiring them of any driver after the period of his jail/prison sentence is unconstitutional.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

I have a feeling Lib thinks it is double jeopardy.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

That wouldn't apply - double jeopardy applies to people who've been acquitted not being able to be charged again.

In this case, people have been convicted.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

Because when you have served your sentence you should be free of government intrusion in your life. Period.

bad_dog 4 years, 8 months ago

The interlock device is part of the sentence and it is not permanently installed in the car.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't think that is so. I think they are a condition of having your sentence reduced. You agree to it, you can't complain.

But if it is actually part of your sentence and not part of a plea, it has two problems. First, it is designed primarily to humiliate the criminal, making it a cruel punishment and second, it is an unconstitutional search because there is no probable cause.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

No, it is not a part of a plea. When in doubt, read the statutes. It is very simple. §8-1014(b)(2) §§8-292 and 8-1015

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

That's an interesting opinion, but not a constitutional argument.

It would lead to opposing things like sex offender registries, post release requirements, etc. Also, that convicted felons would keep all of their rights, including the right to own guns.

Do you believe those things?

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't believe any registries are constitutional and upon the completion of a criminal's sentence he should be afforded equal rights. If you don't trust him to refrain from violating the rights of others, then give him no parole.

Don't mistake "post release" with "completion of sentence". If the judge say's 30 years, the sentence is 30 years. You might get out early if you trade off some of your rights, but at the end of that 30 years, you are a citizen again with all rights intact.

I know it isn't like that, that's how I think it should be.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, I understand your view.

So far, you're the only person to have argued in favor of allowing convicted felons to retain all of their constitutional rights on here, and I've asked about that numerous times.

It has the virtue of consistency.

But, I would say that your first paragraph would lead to life sentences for virtually all crimes, because I wouldn't "trust" a convicted criminal not to re-offend, given the high recidivism rate.

And, a life sentence for minor crimes would probably be seen as "cruel and unusual punishment".

As would the death penalty.

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