On March 21 of this year, a commercial truck driver was stopped by Illinois State Police. The driver was eventually cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of an intoxicating beverage while on duty or driving, and for failing to retain driver logbooks for the previous seven days. He was also cited for improper lane usage and for illegally transporting alcohol. The driver's blood alcohol content was measured at .308. The legal limit for a person with a Commercial Drivers' License is .04. Due to the driver's previous record, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an effective shutdown order for the driver.
Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases a list of the safety improvements it wants to target. The "Most Wanted List" identifies areas that the NTSB believes should be a priority in improving transportation safety. The 2016 list is scheduled to be released on January 13, 2016, at a press conference in Washington D.C.
A 2014 survey of U.S. drivers shows that the issue of impaired driving has changed significantly over recent years. The Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers is conducted periodically by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The survey was first conducted in 1973. Since its inception, the survey has shown a dramatic decrease in the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems. Unfortunately, it has also shown an increase in the number of drivers using marijuana and other illegal drugs, as well as prescription drugs. The survey is voluntary and anonymous.
Roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In an attempt to reduce these deadly incidents, new legislation has been proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the law would require all 50 states to order mandatory ignition interlock devices for people convicted of drinking and driving. Currently, states are allowed to set their own laws regarding criminal penalties for drunk driving. The proposed law would require the devices remain in place for at least six months following the conviction.
A national survey comparing drivers from all 50 states ranked Illinois drivers number 22, in terms of safety. The survey used several different factors, including car accident fatalities per 100 million miles driven, to identify which drivers were the worst. Louisiana drivers ranked as the least safe in the country while the safest drivers were found in Vermont. Illinois finished with the same composite safety score as drivers from New York and Wisconsin.
On November 26, 2012, Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage was doing his job. He was in the process of conducting a traffic stop when he was struck and killed by a passing vehicle. In remembrance of this tragic accident, Illinois law enforcement personnel are conducting 24 consecutive hours of patrols seeking impaired drivers. The program, known as Operation Kyle, kicks off a larger program of enhanced patrolling that is intended to cover the holiday season. From today until the New Year, Illinois State Troopers as well as local officers and sheriffs will be focusing increased efforts on stopping drivers who are suspected of distracted driving, seatbelt violations, speeding or driving under the influence.
The National Transportation Safety Board voted unanimously in support of a proposal to lower blood alcohol limits for drunk driving from .08 to .05 last May. The group contended that adoption of a lower standard would save between 500 and 800 lives every year by reducing drunk driving car accidents. Since that proposal, no state has moved to make the recommended change and several prominent safety organizations have failed to endorse the move. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Governors Highway Safety Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have declined to endorse the move. Despite the cool response NTSB chair Deborah Hersman indicated that the group is confident that the lower BAC limit will eventually be adopted.
When a person agrees to be a designated driver, what are they agreeing to? Are they agreeing to refrain from drinking in order to provide a safe ride home? Are they agreeing to refrain from getting drunk? Are they agreeing to arrange for a safe ride home for the people who are drinking? The understanding of what a designated driver is and what he or she is supposed to do may not be as clear as some believe. A study appearing in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concluded that a surprising number of designated drivers may be consuming alcohol before driving home. The result could be a deadly car accident.
The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expressed his support for laws that require first-time offenders of DUI laws to have interlock devices installed in their vehicles. Federal data shows that a drunk driver who is involved in a fatal traffic accident is 400 percent more likely to have a prior DUI on his or her record than a sober driver. Federal officials have reported that they are considering ways to encourage states to pass tougher drunk driving laws.
Traffic accidents are a common occurrence on Chicago roads, but these crashes are always unexpected for the drivers involved. One of the most disturbing recent trends in Chicago car accidents is the number of wrong-way crashes occurring throughout the metro area. Wrong-way crashes typically result in serious personal injuries and local officials are scrambling to figure out how to prevent them.