Independence Day celebrations are fun for all with fireworks, food with family and friends. But this holiday can be deadly if people in their celebratory fervor get behind the wheel while drunk. According to the Connecticut State Police, last year during the three-day Independence Day holiday over 40 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and police investigated over 300 car crashes. About 50 or so of those car crashes had injuries.
Generally, during the Independence Day holiday there is heightened DUI enforcement which this year commenced on Friday night and lasted until Sunday night. Additional DUI checkpoints were set up. However, this year enforcement was not limited to DUI but included enforcement of all traffic laws such as speeding, distracted driving and seat belts.
What our Connecticut residents may not know is that a new tougher DUI law went into effect on July 1. Under this new DUI law, even if it a driver’s first DUI offense, the drunk driver will have their driving privileges taken away and must install an ignition interlock device if they want their license back. Furthermore, the driver must pay nearly a $100 fine for the installation of the device and a monthly maintenance fee of $50. This is very different from the old DUI law where only those people who were convicted of a DUI had to have the ignition locks installed, and it did not apply to first time offenders.
Though drunk driving accidents are preventable, they injure, maim and kill other drivers on the roads routinely. Though driving while intoxicated is never OK, tougher DUI laws, DUI checkpoint and heightened DUI enforcement during high profile celebratory holidays such as Independence Day and New Year’s Day can make a difference.
Source: New Haven Register, “Connecticut police step up DUI patrols for July 4th weekend as tougher penalties take effect,” Wes Duplantier, July 2, 2015