In the recent Mothers Against Drunk Driving 2015 Report to the Nation that looked at each state’s drunk driving prevention efforts, Florida was given four out of five stars. MADD notes that while the state has been given a high rating, it still wants lawmakers to do even more to put an end to drunk driving. Specifically, the organization wants ignition interlocks to be required for all convicted drunk drivers.
Florida currently requires the use of ignition interlocks for first-time drunk driving offenders who are found with blood alcohol contents of .15 percent or higher. The law was expanded in 2014 to permit judges to order interlocks for first-time offenders who are caught with BACs between .08 percent and .14 percent instead of the typical 10-day vehicle impound requirement.
Ft. Myers personal injury lawyer Randall Spivey and his team are well aware of the devastation an accident can cause victims and their families. Mr. Spivey and the team are prepared to help victims with their cases from beginning to end, to include working with insurance companies as needed, conducting a thorough investigation to preserve needed evidence and helping those injured obtain appropriate medical treatment from well-qualified physicians. If you have been involved in an accident involving a suspected drunk driver, do not hesitate to contact one of our injury attorneys right away.
A Look at Some Statistics
According to MADD, a little over 28 percent of all traffic deaths in Florida in 2014 were caused by drunk drivers who had BACs of .08 percent or greater. Over 40,000 DUI arrests were made last year and there were over 26,000 DUI convictions. What’s even more shocking is that there were over 113,000 third-time DUI offenders and over 11,000 five-time offenders caught by law enforcement.
In an effort to help curb drunk driving, a legislative study committee will examine the prospect of requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders and report back to the legislature for the 2015 session.
Florida’s Prevention Efforts
As noted above, the state already requires interlocks for certain convicted drunk drivers, which certainly is a step in the right direction. Additionally, throughout the state, drivers can be subject to regular sobriety checkpoints that occur at random times. On occasion, law enforcement officers hold what are commonly referred to as “no refusal operations,” which can speed up the warrant process in an effort to compel accused drunk drivers who refuse to participate in blood alcohol testing to have it forcibly done.
Further, in Florida, drunk driving offenders who are operating motor vehicles with a passenger who is under 18 years of age can face child endangerment charges, which means the driver will be subject to additional penalties that can include time in jail, steep fines and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.
It is clear that Florida has made great efforts to combat drunk driving, but admittedly, there is much more to be done. It is crucial for accident victims to know their legal rights and understand that if a driver is found with a BAC over the legal limit, he or she will face serious consequences. If you have been injured by a drunk driver or if you have lost a loved one due to a drunk driver, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. today to discuss your case.