New Georgia DUI law a breath of fresh air

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Lawrenceville police make a traffic stop of a driver suspected of driving under the influence. (Hyosub Shin/AJC FILE PHOTO 2012)

People love new stuff.

It is this universal human desire to obtain that makes Amazon so popular.

Lawmakers are no different. They are paid to make new laws and, like hoarders pushing a shopping cart to a yard sale, they load up.

Many new state laws, which take effect July 1, are new ways to extrapolate cash from the public to finance new stuff.

Example: In 2016, an additional 5 percent was tacked onto your fireworks bill just in time to celebrate our nation’s Independence from those who created silly taxes. The extra cash funded trauma care and firefighters, we are told.

Of Georgia’s several new laws, there’s one affecting those convicted of driving under the influence.

As you probably know, drinking and driving is stupid, especially in the age of Uber and other driving services which quickly and cheaply get you wherever you need to go.

There must be something about chugging hot dogs and freedom that makes Americans drive even worse.

July 4th is the most dangerous day of summer for motorists, say the people who write checks to repair smashed vehicles.  Travelers Insurance claims drivers in some parts of the U.S. are up to 1.5 times more likely to hit something during the holiday than usual.

Last Independence Day weekend, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 404 crashes resulting in 230 injuries and six fatalities. Almost 300 people were charged with DUI.

Under the new law, those arrested for DUI may be given the option of installing an ignition interlock device into their vehicle and acquiring a limited drivers license.

Both cost money. The limited license costs $25.

The ignition interlock costs about $100 and has a daily service fee of $2.60, said DUI attorney Keith Fitzgerald at Hogue and Hogue in Macon, who figures a DUI will now run you at least $1,600 total.

“[Then] DUI school’s going to cost you about $380 … and then another $250 to get your license back,” the attorney said in a WMAZ interview.

The device requires the driver to prove they aren’t drinking by blowing into it before starting their car. If the test indicates they’ve been drinking they are walking or calling someone for a Lyft.

Will the new law reduce traffic accidents, injuries and deaths?

The Centers for Disease Control says interlock devices are better at stopping drunk drivers than a license suspension because people with suspended licenses don’t stop driving.

Up to 75 percent of drivers with a suspended license keep on trucking, says someone at the CDC who must drive through DeKalb County to get to work.

“[Driving with a suspended license] cannot happen with an ignition interlock, because you can’t start your car if someone is over .08,” said Debbie Day, Georgia Executive Director of MADD Georgia to Fox News.

I’m not so sure about that. Your credit card company will tell you people, especially criminals, are more clever than technology. What prevents someone from using air from a balloon or a sober friend to start the car?

If government really wanted to prevent traffic deaths they’d outlaw old cars. The leading cause of death for teens is driving deaths and half of all teen fatalities are in older, less-safe vehicles.

And let’s face it, nothing could be more patriotic than requiring Americans to make a purchase.


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