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Drunk driving deaths of serious concern in Connecticut

Fairfield County residents should be aware of the dangers caused by drunk drivers and know where to get help when needed.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2013 show that drunk driving was a factor in many of the state's traffic fatalities. A total of 276 people lost their lives on Connecticut roads and highways that year. Of those, 114 were fatally injured at the hands of drunk drivers.

Fairfield County recorded the third highest number of drunk driving deaths in the state for 2013 with 26 fatalities. Specific county data includes:

  • Hartford County had the most drunk driving deaths with 30 lives lost.
  • In New Haven County, 26 people died in impaired driving accidents.
  • A total of 10 people died in drunk driving accidents in Litchfield County.
  • Middlesex, New London and Tolland counties each lost nine people in these crashes.
  • Three drunk driving deaths occurred in Windham County.

According to 2012 data from the Century Council, repeat offenders and drivers with very high blood alcohol levels pose exceptional risks on the roads. In that year, nearly three-fourths of all drunk driving fatalities involved drivers with BAC levels over 0.15 percent.

Reducing repeat offenses

A negligent driver who has already been convicted of a drunk driving offense but chooses to drive while impaired again is something the law wants to avoid. The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates the many states attempt to do this through the required use of ignition interlock devices.

An IID is generally comprised of a chip installed in a vehicle's ignition and a dashboard-mounted device that receives breath test data from a driver. If the BAC is above the legal threshold, the unit can lock the ignition, preventing the driver from starting it. If the BAC is below the legal threshold, the ignition is unlocked and the driver may operate the vehicle. A driver can also be signaled to stop for testing once a vehicle is in motion.

In Connecticut, a driver convicted of a first drunk driving offense can be required to use an ignition interlock device for up to one year. A second offense can result in the order to use an IID for up to three years.

TechHive provides details about how technology and auto manufacturers are looking to advance IIDs. Some vehicles shown can actually have IID technology built into them. This would eliminate the need for additional hardware to be installed when ordered.

Keeping the public safe and compensated

The laws in Connecticut work to help prevent drunk driving accidents when and where possible. It also provides victims and family members with the option to pursue compensation if such collisions do occur. Working with an attorney in these cases is recommended.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury

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