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Ignition Interlock Devices Reduce Traffic Accident Fatalities by 15%

Ignition interlock devices that prevent drivers who have alcohol in their systems from operating a motor vehicle can help reduce the rate of traffic accident fatalities by as much as 15%.

Those are the results of a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study used crash data from 18 states that currently have laws requiring ignition interlock devices for all motorists convicted of DUI. The researchers found a 15% cut in the rate of traffic accident fatalities in states that require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of driving while impaired.

In states that had these universal laws, 915 lives were saved in accidents during the study period from 2007 to 2013.  Other studies have also indicated that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws reduce the likelihood that a previous offender will be arrested for drunk driving.

The study also confirms that making these laws applicable to all DUI offenders is key. Other studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have found significant drops in DUI recidivism rates after states expanded their alcohol ignition interlock device requirement to cover all motorists convicted of DUI, even first-time offenders.  In states that have less severe alcohol ignition interlock laws, the drop in accident rates is not as sharp.

Ignition interlock devices have proven to be very effective in helping reduce the number of DUI accidents, because they prevent drivers from being able to operate their motor vehicle if the device detects alcohol in their system. Georgia does not have universal ignition interlock laws that require all offenders convicted of a DUI to utilize a device installed in their car. Universal laws could help further reduce the number of people killed in DUI traffic accidents in Georgia.