Study Finds Ignition Interlock Devices Are Saving Lives

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Study Finds Ignition Interlock Devices Are Saving Lives

A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that ignition interlock devices (IIDs) decrease the number of car accident fatalities in states where the devices are required for drunk driving offenders.

Researchers from the school determined that states that required ignition interlock devices experienced around 1,250 fewer deadly car crashes (a 7% decrease) where drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) OF 0.08 or above.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that installed IIDs reduce repeat offenses for driving while intoxicated by about 70%.

Currently, only 28 states required DUI offenders to have an IID installed if they exceed a BAC of .08. States such as Florida, Nevada, and Wisconsin required IID installation for repeat offenders or for persons convicted of driving with a exceptionally high BAC. These states also allow for a BAC between 0.15-0.18, a limit Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is fighting to reduce to .08 nationwide.

A current MADD campaign is focusing efforts on passing legislation in all states that do not, at present, require IIDs for first-time offenders. When the campaign was first launched in 2006, only New Mexico required an ignition interlock device for all offenders.

The study also noted that car crashes related to alcohol use are among the most preventable causes of death in the U.S., killing nearly 10,000 persons per year. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 1.3 million Americans are arrested each year for a DUI or DWI.

Overall, the study determined that ignition interlock devices have a promising future for reducing drunk driving and alcohol-related fatalities.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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