Why SR-22 Insurance Will Always Be Needed

police care in rear view mirror - SR22

“The guy was drunk so he deserves what he gets. He should lose his driver’s license and his privilege of being on the public highway. How can you justify putting someone with impaired judgment behind the wheel of a 80,000 pound vehicle. Why should my family be subject to the possibility of injury when knowingly we allow someone impaired by drugs–prescribed or otherwise–or alcohol to drive?”

“I’m a truck driver who depends on my being able to drive to make a living for my family. I need to be able to drive. I didn’t think I had that much to drink but I did. This is the first time I ever let myself drink more than I should have. I never realized those prescription drugs would have that effect on me. I learned my lesson and will never let this happen again. I don’t want this to happen again so I have voluntarily installed an ignition interlock system to stop me from being able to drive if I have had too much to drink.”

So goes the debate–to let them drive or to not let them drive.

If one were to reflect seriously on the materials provided by U.S. Dept of Transportation, Highway Safety Administration, and Idaho State Transportation Department on just Idaho drunk driving fatalities, there would be no justifiable reason to ever make it easy for someone to drive drunk.

Drunk Driving Fatalaties

Year TOTAL ALCOHOL RELATED % 0.08+ %
2010 209 82 39 71 34
2011 167 55 33 50 30
2012 184 60 33 54 29
2013 214 73 34 58 27
2014 186 59 32 53 28

source: http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics-idaho.html

Keep in mind these are accidents related to alcohol. How many other drunk drivers were involved with injury-only damages?

Hoping to curtail drunk driving and to draw attention to its seriousness, Idaho treats drunk driving as a criminal offense. The first offense is considered a misdemeanor and you may be sentenced to jail for no longer than 6 months. You may also be fined up to a $1000 and have your license suspended for an absolute minimum of 30 days.

The second time you are arrested for drunk driving you will sit in jail for a minimum of ten days or up to one year. The fine will increase to $2000 and your license will be suspended for a minimum of 1 year after your release from jail. During that year of suspension, no restricted driving privileges will be allowed and you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock system at your own expense following the one year suspension.

Hope you never have a third offense because at that point you may be sentenced to the custody of the state board of corrections for no more than 10 years. If the court decides not to send you to the state prison, you will be sentenced to the county jail for a mandatory minimum of 30 days. You will receive a fine of $5000 and your license will be suspended for a period of 1-5 years after the imprisonment. Other restrictions may be imposed as well.

You say, “Well, I will just refuse to submit to a chemical test.”

Sorry, that won’t fly because the State of Idaho has an implied consent law which means if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Here is the web site you can go to for further details on chemical test refusal:

More on the Idaho implied consent law: http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-refusal-blood-breath-urine-test/idaho.htm

Even though deaths caused by drunk drivers has been on a decline since the 1980’s when the legal drinking age was raised to 21, much is still to be done to make it so not one life is lost to this preventable event.

MADD (Mothers against drunk driving) has been on the vanguard of this effort and has developed a 5 star system that rates states based on the implementation of five different programs. 1) Ignition interlock laws which require people who have drunk driving charges to install a device in their car that will measure blood alcohol content before the car will start; 2) sobriety checkpoints; 3) child endangerment laws; 4) license revocation; and no-refusal events. Many states have embraced this program but there is still more work to be done. (Visit the MADD site for more details.)

With so many of our lifestyle activities involved around our mobility, curtailing one’s opportunity to get from one point to another has a major impact on quality of life. Some environments are such that public transportation can take the place of our ability to individually tend to our needs. Others where populations aren’t dense enough to warrant public transportation taking away driving privileges become a real economic issue.

We have also reached a point in our society where with some activities which are known to be harmful, we are willing to a degree to live with the consequences, ie, obesity, smoking, drug use, unwanted pregnancies, breaking speed limits, driving while drugged or inebriated, etc. It is a proven fact ethics and morality cannot be dictated by law. It has to be an individual choice, and many have made the individual choice to live and let live even to a fault.

SR22 Process

The SR22 process, used in assisting with the issue of drunk or drugged driving, is an attempt to balance the two sides of the issue.

  • allowing an individual to still have driving privileges so life’s demands can be met and
  • imposing regulations which holds one accountable for consequences of poor choices.

Your insurance company will try to provide insurance coverages for you, but there may come a point where its obligations to other customers and company guidelines for doing business just will not allow them to raise the rates high enough to cover your risk. The company will notify you in writing at least 30 days before renewal of their intentions and they will have met their requirement of notifying you of non renewal.

After you have made at least two attempts to purchase insurance and are turned down, you can go to any company to request them to help you obtain the SR 22 insurance. This SR22 is nothing more than the form an insurance company uses to gather your insurance information. The agent submits your request to his/her company and who sends it to the government agency charged with allotting SR22 request. It then comes back to the agent who fills out paperwork of the assigned company and submits it to them. Upon their receiving it and collecting the correct premium, coverage is bound and you are eligible to request your license be restored to you. For a period of three years you must keep the coverage in force with no break in coverage. If there is, you likely will have to begin another three-year period of time. If there are any tickets or claims during this time, additional time may be required as well. If you get the second or third DUI, serious consequences are imposed and your driving privileges will definitely be in jeopardy.

“Don’t drink and drive” should be more than just a cute jingle associated with a very serious problem. Know what prescription drug effects can be and avoid placing yourself in the position where you suffer the consequences.

Because we will always have individuals who will use poor judgment, it will never happen in any of our lifetimes where the SR22 is not needed; but, at least we can continue to make it a conversation topic as we try to make our society a better place to live.

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