Ignition interlock devices reduce deadly accidents

May 4, 2017 | drunk driving

According to a study that appeared in January in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, states that have laws requiring an ignition interlock device for vehicles if their driver has been convicted of drunk driving have reduced the rate of fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents by 7 percent. This is around 1,250 fewer crashes since 1993. Ohio only mandates this device on a second conviction, but as of March 2016, there were 26 states that required it for a first-time conviction.

Until recently, there had not been any studies to show whether these devices were significant in reducing traffic accidents, and this was the first study to look at all 50 states. In 2014, there were about 10,000 deaths from traffic accidents that involved alcohol, and this was roughly one-third of all fatal crashes in that year.

Examining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers examined traffic fatalities involving alcohol from 1982 to 2013. They controlled for other trends and for safety laws and classified state laws as mandatory, partial or permissive to reach their conclusions. Researchers said they hoped other states would enforce mandatory laws as well.

Even if people are not required to install an ignition interlock device on a first drunk driving conviction, they could face other serious repercussions. Penalties for driving under the influence might include license suspension, fines and jail time, and a DUI conviction might also have consequences in a person’s career and personal life. An attorney might seek to get charges dismissed if it can be proved that the Breathalyzer test was not administered correctly or that a driver’s rights were violated during the traffic stop itself.