As states look for ways to further reduce deaths from DUI accidents, many are considering new requirements for ignition interlock devices (IID). For example, a bill now making its way through the Maryland State legislature would require first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. (Drivers convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County already face that penalty for first offenses.)
A study from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that mandatory interlock devices do work as intended. According to an article in Medical Daily, Penn researchers found that mandatory in-car breathalyzers saved an estimated 915 lives between 2007 and 2013. They arrived at this conclusion by studying NHTSA data about the number of alcohol-related crash deaths, comparing states with mandatory ignition interlock laws with those that did not have them. The researchers reported that states with the mandatory interlock laws saved the life of one person in every 125,000.
The use of ignition interlocks cases has grown dramatically. In 2006, only about 100,000 DUI drivers were using devices; in just four years, that number grew to 300,000. The authors of the study did note, however, that there’s lots of room for expanding these programs, since only 30 percent of drivers convicted of DUI have to use these devices.
More than 11,000 people die each year due to accidents involving alcohol; such accidents make up almost one-third (30 percent) of all vehicular accidents. In hopes of reducing these fatalities, both Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Transportation Safety Board strongly support requiring ignition interlock devices for first time DUI offenders.
Only four counties in California require first time-DUI drivers to use ignition interlock devices. AB91 singled out Los Angeles, Tulare, Sacramento and Alameda Counties as locations for a pilot program that was supposed to end in January 2016. The legislature extended the program through July 2017.
Do you or a family member need insight from a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney? Contact Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers to set up your free consultation.