Holiday Drunk Driving Crackdown: “No Refusal”

January 3, 2011 No Comments »


It happens every year. Thousands of Americans take to the road after partying a little too hard at Holiday parties.

According to a Department of Transportation press release, data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that there were 10,839 people killed in alcohol-impaired car crashes last year, including 753 in December alone.

And agency trend data has consistently shown an increase in fatalities during the holiday season.

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As a result, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the annual “Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest” winter holiday crackdown involving thousands of law enforcement agencies across the nation.

What is “No Refusal?”

In many states, a large proportion of the people pulled over for [suspected] DUIs refuse to take an alcohol breathalyzer test.

By doing so, they expect to receive a reduced penalty for not being convicted of drunk driving; rather they may receive a less extreme consequence, perhaps only 90 days of a suspended license for “refusal to submit” to the exam.

The “No Refusal” plan would allow officers to quickly obtain search warrants from “on call” judges to quickly obtain a blood sample from the suspected drunk driver. The idea is to prove the suspected drunk driver was above the state legal limit at the time they were pulled over.

States that have already adopted the “No Refusal” program report more guilty pleas, fewer trials and more convictions for drunk driving than states who have not yet embraced the strategy.

Which States Participate?

Currently, the “No Refusal” program has been implemented in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Utah, Idaho and Arizona.

If you live in any of these states, you can expect a very difficult time getting out of a DUI by refusing the breathalyzer.

Other states could be considering the “No Refusal” approach to combat drunk driving on their public roads, so make sure to plan ahead and elect a designated driver when you know alcoholic beverages are on the menu at a party you will be attending. Better safe than sorry.

Insurance and Drunk Drivers

From an insurance standpoint, the data above means more U.S. drivers are at risk of not receiving monetary reimbursement for damages they suffer as a result of an accident caused by a drunk driver.

Many insurers exclude coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by their insured during the commission of a crime…drunk driving included.

This fact makes a great case for the argument to purchase uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy.

Uninsured motorist insurance, offered for an additional premium, provides coverage from your own insurance company, even though you were not “at-fault” for the accident.

Be sure to speak with your insurance company or independent agent about coverage options if you’re not already aware of what you’ve paid for.

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