Ignition interlock device law expected to reduce DUI fatalities

States that have a mandatory ignition interlock device law have seen a decrease in their DUI fatality rate.

People who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated take the lives of thousands of innocent people every year. In Connecticut alone, more than 41 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2013 involved drunk drivers, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The number of deaths involving drunk drivers had increased by 14 percent from 2012, which prompted state lawmakers to take action. In 2014, Connecticut officials strengthened the law requiring the use of ignition interlock devices by all convicted DUI offenders, including first-time offenders. Other states that have enacted similar legislation have seen the DUI fatality rate decrease substantially because of the increased use of ignition interlock devices.

Why are ignition interlock devices used?

Traditionally, people convicted of a DUI had their driver's licenses revoked, or suspended. MADD reported, however, that up to 75 percent of DUI offenders with suspended drivers licenses continue to operate their vehicles, some even while intoxicated. Ignition interlock devices keep drunk drivers off of the road and lowers the DUI car accident rate by locking intoxicated motorists out of their vehicles.

The small machine is wired into the ignition system of the car, and has a dashboard monitor with an attached tube and camera. Drivers are prompted to submit a breath sample to start the car, and must continue to give breath samples intermittently during the drive in order to keep the car going. The machine calculates the driver's blood alcohol content level based on the amount of alcohol that is present in his or her breath sample. When the driver's BAC is at or above a preset limit, which is usually 0.02 percent, the car will lock up.

Interlock devices save lives

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that ignition interlock devices reduce the number of repeat DUI offenses by 67 percent. Furthermore, states that require all convicted drunk drivers to use these devices have seen a decrease in the number of people killed in DUI accidents. For example, Utah, Hawaii and Kansas have seen a 22 to 23 percent decrease in the drunk driving fatality rate.

Partnering with an attorney

People who have been involved in a drunk driving car accident know that the aftereffects of a collision can be devastating. Whether you have sustained a serious injury and are unable to return to work, or you cannot drive your vehicles due to the massive property damage that has occurred, a Connecticut attorney may be able to help. A personal injury lawyer will explain your options and may be able to walk you through the legal process.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury