NSC Hands Out An “F” For Florida Drunk Driving Crashes

florida drunk driving Florida drunk driving crashes and arrests have kept the state solidly near the bottom of the list of states who take a strong stand against drunk driving. With drunk drivers ruling the roads in the Sunshine State, it’s not surprising that the National Safety Council (NSC) has given Florida an F rating in road safety.

In the report “The State of Safety: A State-by-State Report” the NSC highlights which states are doing well with road, community, home, and workplace safety, and it also puts a spotlight on states that aren’t where they should be for things like drunk driving, drugged driving, and workplace incidences like falls.

In terms of road safety, and that includes Florida drunk driving crashes and arrests, Florida received an F grade from the NSC. It wasn’t at the very bottom of the list, ranking 44th out of 50 states, but Florida roads were the venue for almost 3,000 traffic crash deaths in 2015.

A few issues that made the NSC give Florida an F rating include:

• Florida doesn’t require ignition interlocks for all offenders
Distracted driving is still a major issue as there is no total cellphone ban for all drivers
• Seat belts aren’t required by all passengers in all seated positions in a vehicle

Florida could make great strides to overcome their NSC letter grade if they did one thing: pass an all offender ignition interlock law. An all offender bill was recently on the table and it did pass through a few committees, but it died before it could gain any traction.

If Florida had passed an interlock law this year they would have joined 30 other states who have also passed this life saving law, and with other bills in other states scheduled for hearings in upcoming sessions, Florida doesn’t need an F grade from the NSC to show it’s really lagging behind in terms of road safety.

In this case, F doesn’t stand for Florida; it stands for failure. Let’s hope 2018 is the year the state gets its act together and makes an attempt to fix these issues.

New York City, Why Aren’t You Installing Your Ignition Interlocks?

new-york-city-ignition-interlockWay back in 2009, New York State passed Leandra’s Law. Named for Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old girl who killed in a drunk driving crash, the new law required all drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York State to install an ignition interlock.

The only problem? It doesn’t sound like anyone is listening. After an audit by the New York City probation department, it was found that less than 5% of convicted drunk drivers have installed the required ignition interlock device in their vehicles.

Over 2,166 drunk drivers being supervised by the city probation department between September 2010 and the end of 2014 were required to install an ignition interlock. Out of all of those drunk drivers, only 111 complied.

Now that the information has been released, the probation department is under fire and they’re scrambling to explain. The department blamed the low installation rate on the fact that drunk drivers are opting out of driving their vehicles and taking transit instead. But the auditors haven’t found a link between DWI offenders and mass transit, and they cited an example where drunk drivers are driving on suspended licenses or borrowing vehicles instead of installing one on their car.

Clearly offenders in New York City need to do some catch up, because the 5% compliance rate for ignition interlock installation is well below the statewide compliance rate of 25.8%.

It’s a fact that ignition interlock devices save lives, and there’s research to back that up. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that ignition interlock devices will reduce the likelihood that a drunk driver will drive drunk again by up to 67%, so if everyone who is supposed to install them does, that takes a lot of potential drunk drivers off the road.

What will it take to increase the ignition interlock compliance rate of DWI offenders in New York City? DWI penalties are in place for a reason, and these drunk drivers need to be held accountable for their choice to drink and drive.

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