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Ignition interlock devices save lives

While each state varies in its drunk driving laws, one thing that holds true across the country is the fact that car breathalyzers are helping to prevent subsequent drunk driving offenses.

All 50 states have ignition interlock laws; however, only 32 states require mandatory installation for all drunk driving convictions. These more restrictive laws prevent people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.

Download Infographic: State DUI Laws

Several studies demonstrate car breathalyzers (ignition interlock devices) effectiveness. One study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that laws requiring all drunk driving offenders to install car breathalyzers reduce fatal crashes by 16 percent.

These numbers show that if all 50 states required car breathalyzers for all drunk driving convictions, an estimated 500 more lives could be saved every year. Another IIHS study found that when states strengthen their ignition interlock laws, device installations increased and subsequent drunk driving offenses decreased.

The Centers for Disease and Control found similar results: if all DUI/OWI offenders are required to install a car breathalyzer, subsequent drunk driving convictions are cut by 67 percent.

A third study conducted by John Hopkins University concluded that when states have strict laws against drunk driving that require a breathalyzer to be installed for every conviction, people are less likely to get behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking. Facing more strict consequences deters people from taking the risk.

In 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched their national movement to require ignition interlock devices for all drunk drivers as part of their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

They have been tracking the number of drunk driving attempts prevented by ignition interlocks since 2006. In 2017, ignition interlock devices prevented 354,372 drunk driving attempts, and have prevented a total of nearly 2.69 million attempts since they began tracking the data.

MADD reports that Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico have seen the number of drunk driving deaths decline dramatically as a result of all-offender ignition interlock laws. These numbers underscore why MADD fights for devices to be installed for every drunk driving offense. Their goal is for every state to enact laws requiring car breathalyzers for every drunk driving offense.

So, how do these devices prevent people from driving drunk? If you receive an OWI/DUI and are required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, you must provide a clean breath sample each time you wish to start your car.

You must blow into the device and will only be able to start the vehicle if your sample is within your state’s legal limits. If your breath alcohol content is too high, your vehicle won’t start — preventing you from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. The devices have quickly proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent drunk driving.

If you’ve been convicted of drunk driving, call one of Intoxalock’s experts. They can help you walk through your state’s laws and requirements. We’re here to help you get back on the road.



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