Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Mandatory Ignition Interlock Laws

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Ignition interlock systems have been used since the early 1990s as a tool to prevent drunk driving offenders from getting behind the wheel again while intoxicated. Once installed in the vehicle, the device can detect alcohol on the driver’s breath. If the blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. A new study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine suggests that mandatory ignition interlock laws are associated with a decrease in fatal drunk driving car accidents.

According to the study, there was a seven percent decrease in the number of fatal drunk driving crashes in cases where mandatory ignition interlock laws were imposed on individuals convicted of a DUI. For the first time, we have evidence that the ignition interlock laws actually work, reports the assistant professor in the Center for Injury and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health. The results also suggest that mandatory laws are more effective than partial laws, which only apply to some DUI offenders.

A Closer Look at the Crash Data

Study researchers analyzed the drunk driving fatality rates from 1982 to 2013 in order to determine the impact of mandatory laws, partial laws, and permissive laws, as well as other laws related to vehicle safety. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, they looked at the rates of drunk driving fatalities before and after each state passed ignition interlock laws.

In cases where mandatory laws were imposed, there was a seven percent decrease in the number of alcohol-related fatal wrecks involving drivers who had a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit. The researchers also found that there was an eight percent reduction in fatal car accidents involving drivers with a blood alcohol level of over 0.15. Partial laws were only associated with a two percent reduction in drunk driving fatalities, the study findings reveal, which supports the effectiveness of mandatory laws over partial laws.

While the ignition interlock device has been an effective tool in reducing drunk driving fatalities, their effectiveness depends on a number of factors. For example, there are costs associated with installing and maintaining the device. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, installation can cost an average of $175, and maintenance can cost up to $2.25 per day, based on 2006 figures. Guohua Li, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that drivers often figure out ways to bypass the device. Others, including Gary Biller, president of the National Motorist Association, have commented that the devices have been known to give false positives.

Developing programs that educate, treat, and rehabilitate individuals with substance abuse problems address the issue in a more proactive way. These programs, used in conjunction with the interlock ignition devices, can be very useful in preventing unnecessary drunk driving fatalities.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured by Drunk Drivers

 If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will fight hard, not only to protect your rights, but to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our dedicated car accident lawyers.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of car accidents in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.