DUI Law Study: The Strictest and Most Lenient States in 2017

Interlock Device Tips on the Road

Since states enacted stronger DUI regulations, drunk driving deaths fell 57 percent from 1982 to 2015.  Although this means less tragedy, there is still more work to do to make our nation’s roadways safe. A person still dies every 51 minutes in the U.S. due to a drunk driver.

The Strictest and Most Lenient States on DUI Law

So, which states are the strictest on DUI law, and which are more lenient? WalletHub conducted a study that ranked all 50 states and D.C. overall, including key findings and industry experts’ opinions. The states with stricter DUI regulations are seeing less fatalities and crashes due to impaired driving on their roadways.
Personal finance website WalletHub provided an overall score for the states based on 15 key metrics. The metrics included minimum jail time for first and second DUI convictions, when DUIs are considered a felony, additional penalties for offenders with a high BAC level, and more.

Their mission for this study is to bring attention to the financial downside of driving drunk. More importantly, it brings awareness to what these decisions cost with the loss of innocent lives. Drunk driving crashes also leave people heavily injured, leading to heavy medical bills.

Top 10 Strictest States

1. Arizona – long jail terms
2. Georgia
3. Alaska
4. Kansas
5. Oklahoma
6. Nebraska
7. Connecticut
8. Utah
9. Delaware
10. West Virginia

Top 10 Most Lenient States

1. South Dakota – no mandatory jail time
2. District of Columbia (D.C.)
3. Ohio
4. Idaho
5. North Dakota
6. Maryland
7. New Jersey
8. Michigan
9. Pennsylvania
10. Vermont

Key Findings: Cost of a DUI

The cost of a DUI hits an offender hard on a personal and financial level. It turns out that getting an Uber ride from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, a 3-hour trip, is less expensive than the average, first offense DUI fine of $352. An Uber ride from D.C. to New York, about 4 hours and 30 minutes, is less than a second DUI offense fine of $762 on average.

The study lists that 88 percent of states require offenders to equip their vehicles with an Ignition Interlock after a DUI. The Interlock requirement varies state-by-state, but 30 states, including D.C., make Interlocks mandatory for all offenders. It’s been proven in studies that an all-offender Interlock law is more effective than states that have laxer Interlock requirements laid out.

Ignition Interlocks and DUIs

A good number of the experts in the study touch on the Ignition Interlock legislation. They point out that Ignition Interlocks were a part of the solution in the decline in drunk driving fatalities since the 1980s. Studies show that the recidivism in repeat drunk drivers lessens by 67 percent if they are required to use an Ignition Interlock after the first DUI offense.

It is important for the U.S. to continue its mission of improving drunk driving laws. Recent studies such as WalletHub’s show the progress that is being made to prevent drinking and driving, and what could be improved to make our roadways safer.

Get Back on the Road with Smart Start

Do you need to install an Ignition Interlock? Call Smart Start today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our simple online form.