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Drunk Driving Laws

All states define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, but specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state.

42 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver's license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test. Most of these states allow limited driving privileges (such as to/from work).

All states have some type of ignition interlock law, in which judges require all or some convicted drunk drivers to install interlocks in their cars to analyze their breath and disable the engine if alcohol is detected. 20 states* (and 4 California counties) have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders.

*We defer to our State Highway Safety Office members' interpretation of the law. Some groups may have a higher count.

Federal law mandates that states adopt open container and repeat offender laws meeting specific requirements. Otherwise, a portion of the state's surface transportation funding is transferred to the state DOT or State Highway Safety Office.

Alcohol exclusion laws allow insurance companies to deny payment for treatment of drunk drivers' injuries, but they have limited doctors' abilities to diagnose alcohol problems and recommend treatment. Some states have repealed such laws.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drunk driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.



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Home Security Tips


Before you make security improvements, identify those entry points most likely to be used by a burglar. You can do this by answering the following questions:

    • Which entrances are hidden/out of view from my neighbors?
    • If I am locked out of my house, where could I get in without too much difficulty? Every door/window you list in response to these questions should be a number one priority.


Other security improvements should follow, keeping in mind that your goal is to make it difficult for a burglar by forcing them to take more time and to make more noise!

    • Exterior doors should be strong enough to withstand excessive force.
    • All exterior doors should be secured with a deadbolt lock that has a minimum one-inch throw.
    • All strike plates and frames for exterior doors should be anchored to the home's main construction.
    • All exterior doors should fit snugly against the frame and all frames should be free of warping, cracks, and other signs of wear and tear.
    • Solid core wood, metal or other reinforced doors, Reinforced door jams or jam braces.
    • Three-inch screws, heavy-duty strike plates and tamper proof hinges.
    • The main entrance door should have a doorwide-angle (180 degree)viewer/peephole.
    • Sliding glass doors and windows should be secure against forcing the locks or from being lifted completely out of the frame.
    • High-risk windows (basement, garage, ground-level, partially or totally secluded, latched, etc.) should be secured sufficiently enough to discourage or impede possible intrusion.
    • Double-hung windows should be secured with pins or extra locks to discourage prying.
    • Trees and shrubs should be trimmed to allow visibility along the perimeter (particularly entries) of the house.
    • Timers (both interior and exterior) should be installed to activate lights in your absence
    • All entrances (doors and windows) to your home should be well lit at night.
    • Your address should be posted on your house and be clearly visible from the street both night and day.
    • Safety glass or security film on vulnerable windows.
    • Motion sensor lighting, specifically directed and focused on entry points and vulnerable areas, no flood lighting and beware of light trespass.

Security improvements should not be made at the expense of fire safety! Remember to allow at least one door or window per room as a fire escape - meaning that exit via the door window can be made quickly and easily. There should also be fire escape routes established for your household. Family members should know where these are and they should be practiced periodically, especially if there are young children at home.

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Child Passenger Safety Laws

Child passenger restraint requirements vary based on age, weight and height. Often, this happens in three stages: infants use rear-facing infant seats; toddlers use forward facing child safety seats; and older children use booster seats.
Many laws require all children to ride in the rear seat whenever possible, and most states permit children over a particular age, height or weight to use an adult safety belt. First offense fines for not complying with a state's child passenger safety laws vary from $10 to $500. Some states also use driver's license points as an additional penalty for noncompliance.

  • All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria.
  • 47 states and the District of Columbia require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to use an adult seat belt safely. The only states lacking booster seat laws are Arizona, Florida and South Dakota.
  • 6 states (California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, Texas) have seat belt requirements for school buses.

The State of Wisconsin also has further laws on which way the infant seat must face depending on age of child and weight and height.
There is a $75 fine per incident per child in the vehicle that does not meet these requirements

Contact the Washington County WI Health Department for information and free inspection.

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