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MADD Urges Florida Lawmakers to Strengthen Interlock Device Laws

Florida has certain penalties for convicted DUI offenders; however some believe that the policies on interlock devices could be made stronger.

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    Drunk drivers pose a danger to motorists on Florida roadways every day. Drunk driving car accidents killed 10,076 people and injured 290,000 people in 2013, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Approximately 676 of those deaths occurred in Florida, accounting for 28 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in the state for that year. In order to decrease the number of deaths that are caused by intoxicated drivers each year, some states have instated a law requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Although Florida does require IID use for some convicted DUI offenders, it has yet to enact legislation requiring all DUI offenders to use the device.

    Florida laws regarding ignition interlock devices

    According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, people who have been convicted of multiple DUI offenses are required to use IIDs in their vehicles. First-time offenders who have a blood alcohol content level of over 0.15 percent and intoxicated drivers who have minors in the car are also required to have an interlock device installed. In cases where the DUI offender's BAC is below 0.15 percent, it is up to the discretion of the judge presiding over the case as to whether the drunk driver will need to use an IID.

    IIDS save lives

    Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that interlock devices reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders by up to 67 percent. Since 80 percent of DUI offenders continue to operate vehicles on a suspended driver's license, interlock devices help to keep intoxicated motorists off of the road. States that have implemented a mandatory IID law for all convicted DUI offenders have seen a significant decrease in drunk driving fatality rates as well. For example, Louisiana has seen a 36 percent drop in DUI deaths, and Arizona has had a 45 percent decrease in the DUI fatality rate.

    Drunk drivers can cause serious injuries

    Drunk driving car accidents can be catastrophic, and people who are involved in these collisions may be seriously injured. Broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, paralysis and even death can all stem from these preventable accidents. Keeping drunk drivers off the road is the best way to prevent these accidents from occurring.

    When to contact an attorney

    If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent drunk driver or if you have lost a loved one in a similar type of accident, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney. An established lawyer in Florida may be helpful in exploring your options and walking you through the legal process.

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