New Year's Eve is one of the busiest times of year for DUI enforcement, as police head out in full force to protect potentially drunk drivers from hurting themselves and other motorists on a night that typically involves drinking alcohol.
With that in mind, we want to know if you think the state's laws are strict enough.
Connecticut law says driving under the influence will not be tolerated on the state's roadways. Those who violate that law are arrested and must appear in court, where they are subject to stiff fines and a suspended driver's license.
Penalties for DUI also increase with each conviction, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. As of Jan. 1, 2012, those penalties are as follows:
- First conviction -- license suspended for 45 days and an IID* is required for one year.
- Second conviction -- license suspended for 45 days and an IID is required for three years. If the individual is under 21, the suspension is 45 days or until he/she is 21 years old, whichever is longer.
- Third conviction -- license is revoked permanently. An appeal may be made after six years.
* An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a mechanism installed on the dashboard of a vehicle. The operator must breathe into it before starting the vehicle and if the breath-alcohol content (BAC) is over a certain amount the car will not start, according to Ignition Interlock Device Org. The requirement of an IID is a new weapon in the state's DUI penalty arsenal.
CT's DUI Fatality Stats
The number of DUI-related fatalities in Connecticut in 2010 placed the state 45th in the nation, as in one of the highest in the U.S., according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
In the past five years alone there have been 527 fatalities related to drunk driving in Connecticut; 121 of those occurred in 2010. MADD also reports that Connecticut has 15,723 three-time DUI offenders and 2,743 five-time offenders.
With these stats in mind, do you think the state's DUI penalties are strict enough? Log your answer in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Editor's note: this piece of content is shared across 10 Patch sites in South Central CT.