Study shows states requiring ignition interlocks have fewer traffic deaths
Ignition interlocks are devices that require people to prove their sobriety before they can start their vehicle. These devices require the driver to breathe into a tube, which then takes a sample of their breath. The car will not start until it receives an alcohol-free breath sample. Courts often require people convicted of drunk driving to install these devices in their cars as a condition of driving. While these devices are mandatory in many states, they are not in others.
A recent study published by the American Journal of Health confirmed what many of us may have already suspected. Specifically, states that require ignition interlock devices for drunk drivers have fewer traffic-related deaths than states that do not. This study, titled Impact of State Ignition Interlock Laws on Alcohol-Involved Crash Deaths in the United States, examined death rates in states with mandatory ignition interlock and compared them to states that did not have mandatory ignition interlock. The results were notable.
States with mandatory ignition interlock have 15% fewer alcohol-related deaths
States that required ignition interlock after all drunk driving offenses had 4.7 alcohol-related accident deaths per 100,000 people per year. States that did not require ignition interlock had 5.5 alcohol-related accident deaths per 100,000 people per year. This amounts to 15% fewer deaths.
Currently, 23 states require ignition interlock after any drunk driving offense. In Indiana, ignition interlock devices are not mandatory for people convicted of first-offense OWI, although it is required for repeat offenders. In 2015, drunk drivers were involved in crashes that 180 people on Indiana roads. Looking at this evidence, it appears that requiring mandatory ignition interlock for drunk driving offenses would be an important step in making Indiana’s roads safer for all of us.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver or by another driver’s negligence, it is critical to work with an experienced lawyer. For years, people across the Indianapolis area and beyond have placed their trust in attorney Steve Crell. With more than a quarter-century of experience representing clients in injury and death claims, he is a skilled advocate and counselor. Call 317-669-9791 to set up a free consultation.
Sources: Impact of State Ignition Interlock Laws on Alcohol-Involved Crash Deaths in the United States, by Elinore J. Kaufman, MD, and Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD, March 17, 2016, American Public Health Association
State of Indiana 2015 Traffic Safety Annual Report, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute