Woman Crashes Her Car 3 Times in One Night. Guess Why.

3-dui-crashes-1-dayThree car crashes are a lot to experience in a lifetime. How about in one night? A woman in Walla Walla, Washington managed that feat recently.

She crashed into an empty vehicle, pulled out, drove away, and crashed again. On her third crash she was injured and taken to a hospital.

Not surprisingly, the driver might face a DUI charge. There are not too many things besides alcohol or drugs that would cause a person to crash twice and keep going for a third. Also not surprisingly, the driver has had last least one previous charge: she was cited for not using an ignition interlock, and for driving on a suspended license.

Ignition interlocks – car breathalyzer devices which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking – are proven successful as a way to reduce DUI crashes and DUI recidivism. They only work, however, if they are installed, and many jurisdictions are not diligent about ensuring that offenders actually install the device.

As for driving on suspension, that’s almost a given. Statistics tell us that half- to three-quarters of suspended drivers manage to get on the road at one time or other. Those include impaired drivers, of course.

It’s because of the failure of suspension as a means of keeping drunk drivers off the roads that ignition interlocks were invented. A recent report by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that the devices have prevented well over two million incidences of impaired driving since their adoption by states. That’s a lot of DUI crashes prevented, and a lot of lives saved.

Interlock Compliance – Vital for Public Safety

All of this means that Washington, and other states, need to do a better job ensuring that the ignition interlock devices which are mandated are actually installed. States need to put checks in place. Data should be coming in every 30 or 60 days, depending on the state, when an interlock is being used. If it’s not, it’s because the offender has not installed it, or is not keeping up monitoring appointments. Either way, that’s when authorities need to respond.

The alternative is what was just seen in Walla Walla: a lifetime’s worth of car crashes in one night.