It is simply undeniable that when someone drives drunk in Brooklyn that he or she is putting motorists and pedestrians' lives at risk. Drinking lowers a motorist's reaction time and makes it more difficult to judge what is or is not a safe maneuver. It is for these reasons that New York has one of the strictest set of laws for people convicted of driving while intoxicated.
New York is one of 17 states that mandate anyone convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock device. In addition to the costs of installing and maintaining the device, it prevents New York drivers from operating their vehicles when intoxicated. The interlock requires that a motorist take and pass a breath test before turning a car on.
There is evidence which supports New York's decision to mandate first-time offenders install interlock devices: studies show that fatal accidents were four times more likely to have been caused by drunk drivers with a prior DWI conviction than by sober drivers. With this kind of information, it is no wonder that federal officials are trying to get more states to adopt legislation similar to New York's.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now offering states $20.8 million in highway safety funds if states pass legislation that mandate first-time offenders install interlock devices. The federal department also has released information about highway fatalities in 2010, reporting that nearly one-third of all fatalities were caused by someone who had some alcohol in his or her system. Of those alcohol-related accidents, 70 percent were caused by drivers whose blood alcohol was double or more than the legal limit.
With New York leading the way, however, there may be less of a risk of fatal alcohol-related crashes in the state.
Source: Washington Post, "Federal officials push for tougher state drunken-driving laws," Ashley Halsey III, Aug. 14, 2012
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