Survey: 78% Want Ignition Interlock For All 1st-Time DUI Offenders

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STATE – Nearly 100% of motorists (98%) consider drunk driving a top safety issue on New Jersey roads, results from a 1,000-motorist survey commissioned by the AAA Clubs of New Jersey show.

Additionally, 78% of those surveyed support a law that would require all motorists convicted of DUI – first-time offenders included, regardless of blood alcohol content (BAC) – to install vehicle ignition interlock devices.

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“Most motorists have long recognized the absurdity of driving after drinking,” AAA Clubs of New Jersey spokesperson David Weinstein said. “And now, almost eight in 10 motorists believe interlock devices will stop subsequent DUI convictions and alcohol-related crashes.”

The survey, conducted for AAA by National Research Inc., of Holmdel, also polled motorists on a number of other safety issues.

For instance:

  • 88% cited reading while driving as a serious safety issue (Up from 80% in 2007);
  • 85% cited text messaging or reading e-mail while driving as a serious safety issue;
  • 67% cited shaving, applying makeup and brushing hair as a serious safety issue (Up from 62% in 2007).

Additionally, the survey found that the percentage of motorists who acknowledge being distracted while talking on a cell phone and driving fell dramatically during the last two years:

  • 26% said they are not distracted while driving and talking on a cell phone in 2009. In 2007, 59% said they were not distracted.
  • 91% said that other drivers are distracted while talking on a cell phone behind the wheel.

More on cell phones and driving:

  • 49% said the statewide handheld cell phone ban has not made New Jersey roads safer, while 43% said it has made New Jersey roads safer.
  • 45% said they don’t use a cell phone while driving (Up from 0% in 2007).

“In regard to the use of cell phones while driving, what we have here is a classic case of – It’s not me, it’s you,” Weinstein said. “The fact is, doing anything other than driving while driving increases your risk for a crash.”

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • 73% said the state’s toll roads, such as the Turnpike and Parkway, are in good or excellent condition.
  • 58% said local roads are in fair or poor condition.
  • 47% said state roads, such as Routes 1, 9 and 206, are in fair or poor condition.
  • More than a third (34%) said their commute has gotten worse in the last two years.
  • 7% said they use mass transit during part or for all of their commute.

The AAA Clubs of New Jersey commission a 1,000-motorist survey every two years to track transportation issues in the Garden State.

The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.08 percentage points. It was conducted by telephone on November 9 and 10, 2009. (64% of respondents were AAA members; 93% said they have had a driver license for 11 or more years.)


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