Dealing with the Consequences of DUIs in Montana

Although Texas has the highest number of fatalities related to driving under the influence (DUI), almost 50 percent of fatal road accidents are caused by drunk driving in Montana – a greater percentage than in any other state.  Reducing the number of DUI offences is a priority in Missoula and while drivers should always take steps to prevent drunk driving, the enforcement of stricter checks and penalties on drivers can also act as an effective deterrent. When dangerous drivers continue to offend, even harsher sentencing could ensure they are kept off the roads completely.

Outcomes of Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk drivers are one of the most dangerous risk factors on the roads of Montana. Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver can be devastating and, as well as causing considerable pain and suffering, may result in lost wages and large medical bills. While cases can be complex, a car accident attorney can help victims claim compensation for a collision that wasn’t their fault. For the drunk driver, penalties for the first DUI offence in Montana include a fine of up to $1,000 and a 6 month suspension of their license. To further reinforce the consequences of DUI offence, drivers who receive a conviction must also complete a 12 hour course covering Montana driving laws and the physiological effects of drinking while driving.

Stricter Penalties for Repeat Offenders

While these initial penalties may be effective in some cases, many drivers go on to offend again. Despite delays and setbacks, a new bill to raise the penalties for repeat drunk drivers is now a step closer to becoming law in Montana. After five or more DUI convictions, the bill would impose larger fines of up to $10,000 and more jail time, with a mandatory prison sentence for anyone caught drunk driving for the seventh time. For serial DUI offenders who appear unlikely to stop their dangerous behavior, harsher penalties could keep them off the roads permanently and away from potentially harming other road users.

Keeping Drunk Drivers off the Roads

As well as imposing stricter penalties on drivers caught in their vehicle while over the limit, Missoula would like to discourage drivers from hitting the road in the first place. The national Think Twice Foundation aims to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on the road by educating and informing them about the dangers of drunk driving. They provide single-use breathalyzers to check alcohol levels before getting into a vehicle, and a number of bars in Missoula are now making them available to their customers. The breathalyzer measures blood alcohol content up to .08% which is the upper limit at which drivers can still operate a vehicle in Montana.

Almost half the fatal accidents in Montana are caused by drunk driving. As well as imposing stricter penalties for DUIs, educating drivers in the dangers of drunk driving and preventing accidents from occurring is a priority for the town of Missoula.