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Do harsh penalties reduce drunk driving?

One of the main ways that Florida has worked to combat drunk drivers on the roadways is through increased penalties and imposing harsher sentences on those convicted of drunk driving. However, you probably still hear a lot about drunk driving accidents and other related news, so do these harsh penalties really work? Are those who drink and get behind the wheel really paying attention to what could happen to them if they get caught? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk drivers are deterred by harsher laws and punishment. Particularly, license revocation, ignition interlock devices and tough laws for underage drivers.

If you are convicted of drunk driving, you will lose your license. The length of time depends on the factors surrounding your conviction, such as your BAC and if this is a first or subsequent conviction.

The implementation of ignition interlock devices, especially for first-time incidents, has shown to be very effective. These devices require you to register your current BAC on the device before you can start your vehicle. Of course, they are only used once a person has been caught one time, so they only help to prevent repeat instances, but do so well.

Zero tolerance laws that say underage drivers cannot have any amount of alcohol in their system seems to work the best when it comes to underage drunk drivers. In addition, maintaining the legal drinking age of 21 also helps stop minors from getting behind the wheel after drinking. The CDC estimates tens of thousands of lives are saved by these two measures alone. This information is for education and is not legal advice.


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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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