California Crash Highlights Danger Of DUI Accidents Involving Repeat Offenders
A car accident that may have involved alcohol recently injured several pedestrians in Alhambra. NBC Los Angeles reports that a driver struck another vehicle, which then crashed into a group of people who were looking at Christmas decorations. Thirteen people were injured, 11 were hospitalized and one required intensive care for a head injury. The driver was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI.
Sadly, according to NBC, this driver had a history of DUI, with convictions for DUI without a valid license; DUI and hit-and-run; and driving with a suspended license. When the driver was most recently arrested, he lacked a current driver’s license and was on probation for a prior DUI charge. This man’s background and the recent accident highlight the fact that California laws leave room for many repeat offenders to ignore license suspensions or revocations and place others in danger.
Ignition interlock device installation is one measure that has proven effective in reducing repeat DUI offenses, since these devices physically prevent intoxicated drivers from operating their vehicles. However, device installation is currently only offered or mandated under a few circumstances in California.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, interlock installation is mandatory for people who have been convicted of DUI with a suspended or revoked license. Additionally, four counties are participating in a pilot program that makes ignition interlock device installation mandatory for all convicted DUI offenders. Drivers who are arrested and convicted in these counties may be required to use the devices for anywhere from five to 48 months.
Currently, DUI offenders who are convicted elsewhere and hold valid licenses at the time of arrest are not required to install ignition interlock devices. Unfortunately, research indicates this may leave many dangerous drivers on the road.
Research shows many DUI offenders may be habitual offenders who are inclined to ignore license restrictions unless the restrictions are enforced with an interlock device. To illustrate the issue, Mothers Against Drunk Driving shares the following facts about repeat offenders and ignition interlock installation:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, on average, a first-time DUI offender has already driven while intoxicated at least 80 times.
- Two studies indicate as many as 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders keep driving despite license restrictions.
- Research from the CDC shows that ignition interlock device use results in a 67 percent drop in repeat offenses.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that fatalities from alcohol-related car accidents have dropped by more than 30 percent in some states that require interlock installation following every DUI offense.
These findings, along with the recent accident involving a known repeat offender, suggest that an expansion of California’s pilot program could offer significant safety benefits for drivers.
Unfortunately, under current state laws, drunk driving accidents may affect many Californians. Anyone who has been injured in such an accident should consider speaking to an attorney about seeking compensation.
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To discuss a car accident case with an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr., by calling 866-583-9564. We have offices in Los Angeles, Monrovia, West Covina and Palm Desert.