Connecticut among the strictest states on DUI - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut among the strictest states on DUI

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(nhtsa.gov photo) (nhtsa.gov photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut is among the toughest states in the country on drivers caught driving under the influence.

The personal finance website WalletHub.com ranked the state as seventh on its list of 2016's strictest & most lenient states on DUI.

Researchers said they compared the enforcement rules in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Here's how the statistics broke down for Connecticut:

  • 8th in minimum jail time (1st offense)
  • 2nd in minimum jail time (2nd offense)
  • 6th in how long old DUI factors into penalties
  • 9th in administrative license suspension
  • 4th in minimum fine (1st offense)
  • 6th in minimum fine (2nd offense)
  • 2nd in average insurance rate increase after DUI

The top three strictest states include Arizona, Georgia and Alaska.

Check out the rest of the top 10 here.

The most lenient states are North Dakota, Washington D.C. and South Dakota, respectively.

Alcohol-impaired driving was the cause of 31 percent of vehicle deaths in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Every year, there are more than a million arrests nationwide for DUI and nearly 10,000 deaths. Connecticut DUI deaths have been dropping, but authorities said there is still plenty of work to do.

George Giering was hit by a drunk driver and was almost killed. 

"This was me when I came out of a coma," Giering said holding a photo. "Two weeks after the incident when they had done all the operations."

Giering was hit while crossing a New Haven street. He was in a crosswalk when police said the driver took off and was eventually caught by officers. But Giering said he would spend the next few months undergoing a number of surgeries. He even lost a kidney.

In Connecticut, a first conviction for DUI sends the violator to prison for two days and on the second conviction, a person could spend 120 days in jail. DUI is an automatic felony on the third offense and an ignition interlock device is mandatory on the first conviction.

Mothers against Drunk Driving has been pushing for more ignition interlock devices, which are now mandatory after the first offense. But while DUI fatalities have declined and Connecticut still ranks high with impaired drivers. In 2014, there were 161 fatalities with 43 % tested positive for alcohol.

MADD has also been pushing for more education programs for young drivers.

"We are alarmed by the number of teens that continue to drink," Amber Monck with MADD-CT said.  "In Connecticut, the average of children who start drinking is 11 years old."

It's been ten years since the crash and Giering has his own children. Giering said he's hoping they won't become just another statistic. 

"When you see it on the news, you say oh that poor guy," Giering said. But now with social media they see it more and more and say that really happens a lot more."

MADD has also been successful in putting into place an education program for young drivers for things such as alcohol possession and minor traffic violations. These programs try to get kids thinking before something worse happens.

The government also estimated that drunk driving costs Americans more than $40 billion per year in economic losses. However, the rate of impaired driving has dropped by 57 percent since the 1980s.

To read the complete results of the study, click here.

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