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Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices and Traffic Safety

May 2, 2017

Florida is not one of the states that has a mandatory requirement for an ignition interlock device if a person is convicted of drunk driving. However, a study that appeared in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” found that mandatory ignition interlock laws reduced alcohol-related traffic fatalities. As of March 2016, there were 26 states with mandatory laws. Others only require them on second offenses, if the BAC is above a certain level or at the discretion of the judge.

Researchers examined data to reach the conclusion that in states with the mandatory requirement, there was a 7 percent drop in fatal motor vehicle accidents in which alcohol was a factor. Since 1993, this is a total of about 1,250 deadly accidents prevented. About 10,000 lives were lost in 2014 in alcohol-related deadly motor vehicle crashes, and this was around one-third of all traffic fatalities.

Until recently, researchers say, there was no data that measured whether installing ignition interlock devices had an effect on safety, and this is the first one that has looked at every state. Researchers urged other states to adopt similar mandatory laws to reduce fatalities.

Even when drunk driving does not end in a fatality, it can result in serious consequences for people who are facing DUI charges. They might be required to attend classes on alcohol abuse, lose their license, pay a fine or even go to jail. However, there are also potential defenses against a DUI charge that an attorney can sometimes raise. Some examples are a challenge to the calibration of the breath machine or to the manner in which the traffic stop was conducted.