The war against drunk driving has been fought with an arsenal of product-driven campaigns, most recently including the installation of court-mandated IUD ignition locks, which require a driver to blow into a machine that tests blood alcohol content, and if any alcohol is detected, prevents the car from starting. But now, state judges may have another, more simplified option to keep repeat drunk driving offenders from getting behind the wheel if they are anything other than sober, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale report—a good old-fashioned daily Breathalyzer.
In fact, a new proposal approved unanimously by the House Economic Affairs Committee last month, would allow judges to institute a new program for repeat DUI offenders, known as “24/7 Sobriety.” This program would replace the current state law that requires anyone with more than one drunk driving conviction to install an IUD device in every vehicle he or she may drive. But under the 24/7 Sobriety plan, outlined in HB 7005, judges could order a driver to install an IUD device, or participate in the program, or both.
The plan for prevention in HB 7005 is one of abstinence, in which drunk driving offenders are required to be sober 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In order to enforce this behavior, drivers would be required to submit to breath tests twice a day, random urine tests, and continuous use of devices such as ankle bracelets or drug patches to monitor behavior. Supporters of the new bill say that similar 24/7 sobriety and accountability programs have been significantly productive in reducing driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other related crimes such as domestic violence. Sobriety programs also garner better compliance rates than the use of interlock devices.
In fact, if HB 7005 goes forward as planned, Florida drivers may see even less of the interlock devices altogether. Many safety experts agree that abstinence-based programs will be more beneficial in enforcing and encouraging repeat offenders to stay sober. And although these programs may not be as popular with the vendors who market anti-drunk driving products, personal injury law firms in Florida say that the focus should be on eliminating drunk driving by whatever works best.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones is a leading supporter of the abstinence program and has proposed that half of the state’s current interlock-device users be converted to the 24/7 program for five years to measure which method does the best. “Why limit ourselves to one method that is exclusive to drinking while driving while drugged-driving violations continue to increase?” she asked recently. An abstinence program would help curb any substance abuse that creates dangerous driving scenarios.
At the Law Offices of David I Fuchs, a Florida personal injury law firm, our attorneys are in full support of methods to reduce drug and alcohol use while driving, and keep the streets and highways safer for everyone. We represent anyone who has been injured as a result of a drunk or drugged driver’s actions. Contact David Fuchs today to discuss your case.