Man In Ignition Interlock Program Incorrectly Blames Device For Crash

ignition interlock programAn ignition interlock will do a lot of things. It will stop a driver from starting his or her vehicle, but only if that driver has been drinking alcohol. The device will also prevent that driver from drinking while they are driving, because most states require an offender participating in their state ignition interlock program to take a rolling retest while he or she is driving.

But what an ignition interlock won’t do is cause you to crash your vehicle. However, that hasn’t stopped an  offender taking part in the ignition interlock program from blaming the device for exactly that.

The offender in question, from Rhode Island, was involved in a hit and run recently. Witnesses saw the man swerving into a sign, heading back onto the road, and then crashing into another car. Instead of staying at the scene he hit the car another time and left the site of the crash.

This offender was participating in the Rhode Island ignition interlock program, and when he was caught he admitted to causing the crash. What he didn’t admit to was that it was his fault. Instead, he decided to blame the ignition interlock device in his vehicle, saying that the device was beeping constantly and that he was trying to get it to stop beeping when he struck the sign and kept going.

The problem with this line of defense? It’s not true. There are thousands of people who take part in the ignition interlock program in their own state and they successfully use the device without having it beep in the way he described.

But if the device was beeping, it’s because the driver had skipped a rolling retest or failed it. That may cause the device’s alarm to sound and the car’s lights to flash, and that offender would be required to safely pull over onto the side of the road and turn the car off. Once the car is turned off, the driver would need to take another breath test to start the vehicle again.

Put all of that together and it doesn’t take a lot of detective work to realize that the ignition interlock didn’t cause this crash; the driver did.

School Buses Might Soon Be Installing Ignition Interlocks

school kidsWhen you send your child off on a school bus every day, you want to know that you can trust that bus driver to get your child to school and back safely. That trust is shattered when you discover that your school bus driver may have been drinking and driving, and although bus drivers are suspended for doing so, it still makes a parent wonder how to be absolutely sure their child is safe on the bus.

That’s why one state is considering taking a huge leap toward school bus safety. They’d like to see all school buses in Rhode Island equipped with ignition interlocks. That way the school bus driver could blow before they start the vehicle, and in doing so parents and the school district would be assured that the driver was sober.

Two representatives in Rhode Island co-sponsored the bill that could bring ignition interlocks to school buses, and if passed the legislation will require every single school bus in the state to install the device. For the representatives the bill is in response to the arrest of school bus driver for drunk driving in Rhode Island recently. The driver was driving erratically in the school bus with boys from the track team and their coach on board. She was stopped by police, and when they took her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) it was .15.

But that case is just one of many drunk driving cases by school bus drivers in the USA.
A school bus driver in Waukesha County, Wisconsin was arrested just before Christmas because she was drunk behind the wheel of her school bus. Police stopped her because she was driving erratically with students in the bus, and she was arrested for her third operating while impaired (OWI) offense.

Rhode Island might be leading the way with this bill, but if they are successful it won’t be long before other states with similar problems could jump on board and require ignition interlock for all school buses. If they do it would be a great step in the right direction for the safety of all children.

Rhode Island Signing Up For Ignition Interlocks

rhode island ignition interlocksRhode Island has a lot going for it. From its stunning gilded age mansions to the magnificent coastline, it’s a beautiful state. It’s also a state that’s taking a step in the right direction as far as their drunk drivers because Rhode Island will become the 28th state to require ignition interlocks for all offenders.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will soon sign a new law that requires anyone convicted of their first driving under the influence (DUI) charge to install an ignition interlock in any car he or she drives. Right now Rhode Island DUI law only requires ignition interlocks upon judge order, and they’re only ordered for repeat offenders or anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher.

Rhode Island has the jump on other states with pending bills for ignition interlocks. California has a bill on the table after seeing positive results with a four county ignition interlock pilot program. Washington State has a bill pending, and so does Oregon and Ohio.

This is a law that can’t come a moment too soon for Rhode Island. Drunk drivers seem to be out in full force in the state. Take a recent Sheriff’s van crash for example: a drunk driver faces charges for DUI, assault and battery with dangerous weapon, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle after she crashed into the van while it sat in a construction zone. The crash was so violent that airbags deployed in the officer’s face.

Roads aren’t the only dangerous spots in Rhode Island. A teen was found passed out in a boat that was drifting in Newport. He was charged with DUI and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

These are just two recent cases of drunk drivers in Rhode Island recently. Hopefully once the new law is signed, it works to make drivers think twice before they get behind any kind of wheel while drunk.

Rhode Island Man Arrested For DUI 4 Times In 48 Hours

repeat-dui-four-times-48-hoursMost states have something called a look-back or ‘washout’ period. It’s the period of time when a previous driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction will be relevant for a new offense. For DUI offenders, a state’s look-back period is very important, because if they offend two or more times during that period, they could be liable for stiffer penalties.

You can usually read in newspapers or online about DUI offenders who have made the choice to drink and repeatedly over a period of years, but you don’t normally hear about them being arrested for DUI over and over again in a matter of days. But that’s exactly what happened in Rhode Island recently—John Lourenco was arrested and charged with DUI a mind-blowing four times in less than 48 hours.

Beginning on a Sunday morning, Lourenco crashed his Dodge pickup truck into an SUV carrying small children. The following day he was driving a Chevy Malibu and he rear-ended a vehicle. He was given a breathalyzer, was found to have a .220 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and was released with a court summons. At 11:15 am that same day he was stopped after someone reported him for driving another car erratically, and after he was stopped he was taken to the hospital.

But he wasn’t finished driving under the influence yet. Once he was released from the hospital he drove off in a dump truck and crashed into a tree at 5 pm. He was taken back to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

It’s incredible that one person can choose to drive drunk 3 times in one day, and it’s even more incredible that Lourenco has not had his driver’s license suspended yet. Instead he received an order to pay bail for all three charges, bail supervision, and an order to not drink alcohol.

It’s unclear as to why Lourenco was let off so easily, because for a first offense in Rhode Island, DUI laws require an offender to spend up to 1 year in jail, pay fines up to $500, and lose their driver’s license for 2 to 18 months. First offenders are not required to install an ignition interlock, but repeat offenders are.

This man is fortunate no one was killed during his 48 hour DUI spree. Hopefully during sentencing he’ll be convicted as a repeat offender and receive the maximum amount of penalties possible.

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