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Study Shows Ignition Interlock Devices Reduce Drunk Driving Accidents

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Jan 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

Drivers who are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles understand the deterrent effect it has on drinking and driving. Soon, mandatory IIDs will be required for all DUI convictions across the state of California. A new study shows that IIDs reduce the number of fatal car accidents involving drunk drivers.

An IID works like a breathalyzer for the vehicle's ignition. The device requires a breath sample in order for the ignition to start. The IID then requires “rolling samples” within about 5 minutes and at intervals while the vehicle is operating. If the device tests a breath sample with a measurable amount of alcohol, the IID will record the failed test and the car will not start. A failed breath test may result in a violation of the driver's probation.

For years, drivers arrested for a first-time DUI in Alameda County have been required to have an IID in their vehicle if they want to get a restricted driver's license or have their driving privileges reinstated. Alameda is one of four counties (including Los Angeles, Tulare, and Sacramento) that are part of a pilot program to test the use of these devices in preventing repeat offenses. Starting January 1, 2019, the program will be taken statewide.

A new study has found that mandatory ignition interlock device laws are associated with a 7% decrease in the rate of fatal accidents involving alcohol. The study from Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research looked at drunk driving accident rates in a number of states which have mandatory IID laws for drunk drivers.

“We already know that alcohol plays a tragic role in the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities each year,” said Emma McGinty, leader of the study. “Our study demonstrates the value of mandatory ignition interlock laws across the United States. Interlock laws which are mandatory for all DUI offenders save lives.”

The research looked at fatal alcohol-related car accidents from 1982 to 2013. After accounting for other factors, the researchers estimated that in states with mandatory IID laws, more than 1,200 fatal accidents were prevented through the use of IIDs.

The study, “Ignition Interlock Laws: Effects on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes, 1982–2013”, was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. The analysis found a 7% reduction in the rate of fatal crashes involving a driver with a BAC higher than 0.08% from states requiring interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. The study concluded that increasing the spread of interlock laws that are mandatory for all offenders would have a significant public health impact.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, there is still a chance to save your driving privileges. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals charged with drunk driving offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future. If you are facing a conviction, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 36 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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