The data is in – and the results are indisputable. Interlock ignition devices designed to prevent intoxicated drivers from operating their vehicles are effective in reducing fatal drunk driving car accidents. In a study recently published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the use of interlock devices by people convicted of a DUI reduced fatal car accidents by seven percent.
Every state has laws requiring some DUI offenders to install interlock ignition devices in their cars. The device essentially acts like a portable breathalyzer, detecting the presence of alcohol in the driver’s system. If the device detects alcohol greater than the acceptable pre-programmed amount, it prevents the engine from starting. Some interlock devices also require random tests from the driver while the vehicle is in operation, preventing a passenger from providing a sample.
The study analyzed fatal drunk driving car accidents over a 32-year period and how they differed before and after the use of interlock devices. It also studied how crash rates varied in states with more permissive or strict interlock device regulations. In states where interlock devices were mandatory for drivers with blood alcohol levels equal to or above the legal limit, fatal crashes were reduced by seven percent. In states where interlock device regulations were more permissive, fatal crashes decreased by two percent.
Ignition Interlock Devices Pose Problems
While these devices save lives, there are some flaws in the system. Interlock devices are costly. Offenders are financially responsible for purchasing the devices and paying the daily operating fee. The cost is around $175 for the unit, and $2.25 per day. Some drivers simply cannot afford these costs, preventing them from traveling to work, school, or other essential places.
Ignition interlock devices can be unreliable or malfunction altogether, preventing sober drivers from operating their vehicles. Moreover, some drunk drivers have found ways to bypass the device and operate their cars even after they have been drinking. On a larger scale, some opponents of the device say they do not address the systemic problem of alcohol dependence.
Though not a perfect solution, interlock devices are keeping some drunk drivers off the road. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mothers Against Drunk Driving support the use of interlock units. Interlock devices are just one piece of the larger puzzle in fighting alcohol abuse in America. Yet even if they have saved only one life, they are invaluable.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Serve Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
Interlock ignition units are effective in keeping drunk drivers off the road, but they are not foolproof. Offenders find ways to bypass them and drive while intoxicated, putting others in danger. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drunk driving car accident, Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will advocate for you. Because most states have a statute of limitations, it is important to work quickly. Call our Center City Philadelphia offices to begin today at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. We also have offices in Abington and Media, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and Haddonfield, New Jersey to serve clients throughout tristate area.