Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers: Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Curbs Drunk Driving

Drunk driving continues to be a serious problem, one that results in too many tragic, yet preventable, deaths every year. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, ignition interlock devices (IID) can significantly reduce the number of fatal wrecks by preventing impaired drivers from being able to start their car. The device uses a Breathalyzer, which essentially disables the engine if the driver has a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

According to the study, in the 18 states that currently require the technology for drivers convicted of drunk driving, there was a 15 percent reduction in fatal drunk driving car accidents. From 2007 to 2013, approximately 915 lives were saved as a result of the IID technology. Authors of the study compared these results to the number of lives saved by the mandatory airbag law and increasing the legal drinking age to 21 years old. Dr. Elinore Kaufman, an author of the study and a student in the health policy program at the University of Pennsylvania, commented that, given the proven success of the technology in other states, remaining states should adopt the technology in order to prevent more unnecessary deaths from drunk driving crashes.

If a vehicle is equipped with Breathalyzer ignition interlock technology, the driver must blow into the Breathalyzer in order to start the car. If the blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, which is 0.02 in most cases, the car will not start. Considering the fact that 30 percent of all fatal car accidents in the United States are alcohol-related, this device has the potential to save thousands of lives each year. In addition, they have had a significant impact on the number of repeat DWI offenses, reducing the incidence by between 50 percent and 90 percent.

Currently, the technology is mandatory is only 25 states. Other states leave the decision in the hands of a judge, and some only require that the device be used by repeat offenders. Maryland and Pennsylvania are likely to be the next two states to require mandatory interlock laws.

Highlights from the Study

  • The study analyzed the U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration death rates from 1999 to 2013. Crash deaths in 18 states that enforced ignition interlock laws for all convicted drunk drivers were compared to 32 states that did not enforce this law.
  • The majority of states with mandatory interlock laws had far fewer alcohol-related fatal crashes by the third year.
  • Overall, the general public has shown strong support for the device.
  • According to chief government affairs officer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the locks are effective, and can prevent offenders who drive with suspended or revoked licenses from driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drunk Drivers

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, the consequences can be devastating. Baltimore personal injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side and will fight tirelessly to secure the financial compensation you deserve. Protecting your legal rights is our top priority and we will not stop fighting on your behalf until justice has been served. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson and we represent clients throughout 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.