Study: States with Ignition Interlock See Reduction in Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents

When a court convicts a driver for a DUI, it may require that driver install an ignition interlock device in his/her vehicles. These devices measure the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and prevent the car from starting if the driver is under the influence. Ignition interlock device laws vary by state, but a recent study suggests that mandatory interlock laws have helped reduce the number of fatal drunk driving accidents.

Study Results Support Use of Mandatory Interlock Laws

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, focused on the impact of ignition interlock laws on the rate of fatal drunk driving accidents.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Colorado School of Public Health analyzed fatal accidents involving alcohol from 1982 to 2013 and compared pre- and post- interlock law accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). They also made sure to control for other traffic safety laws and accident trends.

After analyzing the data, the researchers studied whether interlock laws impacted the number of fatal crashes that occurred. The study showed that there was a seven percent decrease in fatal accidents involving a driver with a BAC over 0.08 and an eight percent decrease in fatal accidents involving drivers with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

Researchers predict that ignition interlock devices have prevented close to 1,250 drunk driving accidents in mandatory states since 1993 (the year Oregon implemented mandatory interlock laws). As of March 2016, 25 states have implemented mandatory laws, but researchers hope that this study encourages more states to take that step.

What are the categories of interlock laws?

All 50 states have some form of interlock ignition laws. There are three main types of ignition interlock laws: permissive, partial, and mandatory.

  • Permissive: States with permissive laws put the use of ignition interlock devices under the judge’s discretion.
  • Partial: Many states have partial interlock laws that only impact certain drivers (e.g., repeat offenders, drivers with high blood alcohol content, etc.)
  • Mandatory: States with mandatory laws require all drivers with DUI convictions to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

What is Georgia’s ignition interlock law?

Under Georgia law, courts may order drivers convicted of their first DUI to use an ignition interlock. However, drivers with multiple DUI convictions who are on probation must install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

If a Georgia driver is a habitual DUI offender (two or more drunk driving convictions within five years), the state will likely give him/her a probationary license, allowing him/her to only drive to certain approved locations (e.g., work, school). Habitual offenders must have the interlock device installed for six months after issuance of the probationary license.

Drunk driving accidents are an everyday occurrence. Countless lives are lost and thousands are injured in these accidents. Atlanta car accident attorney Jason Schultz is aware of the dangers of drunk driving and is here to help you recover the compensation you deserve. For more information on recovering compensation after an accident involving a drunk driver, call 404-474-0804 to schedule a free consultation. 

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