Indiana’s drunk driving laws have failed to pass muster with the federal administration. The administration has announced that several states, including Indiana, will be penalized with a lack of federal funding for highway safety projects, as a result of their failure to pass stringent laws against intoxicated driving.
According to an assessment of the drunk driving laws passed by all states by the Federal Highway Administration, as many as two thirds of all states have lax drunk driving laws that do not make the cut. The federal administration believes that these states, including Indiana, have not complied with mandates to reduce the incidence of intoxicated driving.
In Indiana’s case, there were changes made to the drunk driving laws back in 2004, and under the new laws, the state no longer requires a person convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to perform a certain number of hours of community service as an alternative to prison time. The federal administration is not happy with that changed law.
The administration also has a problem with the open container laws in Indiana. However, the state has already complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that Indiana’s open container laws have remained unchanged since 2005, when the agency gave the thumbs-up to the state’s anti-drunk driving laws. According to state officials, the agency, which had approved the laws back in 2005, is now unfairly claiming that the state is not in compliance.
The state has asked for time until the legislature convenes to recommend changes, and to comply with the federal mandates. However, it may be too late because under federal law, all states must be in compliance with the federal mandates by the beginning of the fiscal year. That fiscal year began in October last year.
The number of people being killed in alcohol-related car accidents has dropped over the past decade. In spite of that decline, the federal administration believes that more progress must be made in reducing the number of DUI fatalities and special attention must be paid to strengthening drunk driving laws. Therefore, the federal strategy punishes states that fail to comply with its mandates for anti-drunk driving laws by requiring that the federal highway funds be spent on anti-drunk driving efforts and not on highway and bridge building and repair work.
The good news in this situation is that more federal highway safety funds will now be allocated to anti-drunk driving campaigns in Indiana, which is always welcome.
The Indiana car accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent victims of automobile accidents across Indiana. If you have been injured in a car accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at our firm. Initial consultations are free.