Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

With drunk driving deaths rising, ignition interlock law sought

Twenty-eight percent. That's how much the number of drunk driving fatalities increased from 2014 to 2015 in Michigan. The numbers were recently released by the Office of Highway Safety Planning. There were 303 people killed in 2015 and 236 in 2014.

As a result of this increase, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has renewed its efforts to get an ignition interlock in the vehicles of everyone who is convicted of drunk driving. According to MADD's state executive director, "Ignition interlocks keep drunk drivers off the road and the public safe."

As the law stands now, drunk drivers who have a.17 or great blood alcohol concentration or who are repeat offenders may have an ignition interlock if they want to drive when their licenses are suspended.

There is currently a bill to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee that would expand the current ignition interlock option to anyone who is convicted of drunk driving. That bill is sponsored by Representative Klint Kesto.

Several studies have been done on the effectiveness of ignition interlocks and the results were reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That review shows that repeat drunk driving offenses have been cut by 67 percent during just the license suspension time frame. Another study done in Michigan shows that those who are convicted of drunk driving and who do not have an ignition interlock on their vehicles are 3.2 times more likely not to complete the Sobriety Court program. Those who participated in the Interlock Program had the lowest rate of recidivism.

A report released by MADD in February shows that there were 86,393 times since October 2010 that a vehicle didn't start because of an ignition interlock.

If you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated, it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side. There are defenses to drunk driving or at least ways to mitigate the penalties.

Source: UPMatters.com, "MADD Calls on Legislature To Strengthen Drunk Driving Law," May 09, 2016

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