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NJ Senate votes for tougher DUI restrictions

Recently, the New Jersey state Senate took a tough stance against drunk driving accidents, voting to require that ignition interlock devices be installed in the vehicles of first-time drunk drivers. The bill replaces the total suspension of a driver's license with a penalty of requiring the ignition interlock device to be installed in their car for a period of three to twelve months. The bill is an effort to combat the prevalence of drunk driving accidents, and there is data available to back up the assertion that these devices prevent DUI accidents and save lives.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the installation of ignition interlock devices corresponds to a decrease in re-arrest rates for driving under the influence. However, some expressed concern that drunk drivers would simply borrow a friend's car without the devices installed, and that more rehabilitation centers for alcohol abuse were needed. If the state Assembly passes the bill, New Jersey would join 18 other states in requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock devices measure the amount of alcohol in a person's breath by having the driver breath through a straw. If the driver's blood alcohol content is determined to be too high, the device prevents the car's engine from starting. Groups in favor of the New Jersey bill such as Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) have pointed to the success of the devices in curbing DUI fatalities in states such as Arizona, Louisiana, Oregon, and New Mexico.

Drunk driving accidents are financially and physically costly for all involved. Victims of a DUI accident must not only deal with any disabilities or injuries incurred, but also with the costs of property damage, missed wages, and car repairs. For a victim of a drunk driving accident, the injury and property damage can have a catastrophic impact on their finances.

Anyone injured by a drunk driver may seek to recover monetary damages from the driver for lost wages, medical bills, any temporary or permanent disability incurred, and for pain and suffering. In this way, the victim is compensated for his or her injury, and the defendant is held accountable for the negligence. Anyone injured by a drunk driver is entitled to seek a just solution.

Source: NJ.com, "Ignition interlock bill to deter drunk driving moved to N.J. Assembly after Senate approval," Don E. Woods, June 29, 2013.

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Gary D. Ginsberg is a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has been recognized as an expert in litigating cases in the courts of New Jersey.

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