Mandatory ignition interlock device law saves lives in GA

Drunk drivers take the lives of innocent motorists every day. Yet, ignition interlock devices may help decrease the number of DUI offenders on the road.

Every day, 28 people die in car accidents caused by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Georgia alone lost 297 people in drunk driving accidents in 2013, which accounted for 25.2 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the state, as reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Nationwide, 10,076 people were killed and another 290,000 people were injured in accidents involving drunk drivers that same year. These surprising statistics have led many state lawmakers to pass legislation in an attempt to decrease the number of car accidents caused by drunk driving. In 1999, Georgia enacted a law requiring repeat drunk drivers to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Yet, many believe that more lives could be saved if the laws were strengthened.

The facts about ignition interlock devices

MADD reported that 24 states, including four counties in California, currently have a law mandating all convicted DUI offenders use an ignition interlock device in all of their vehicles for a specific period of time. One reason why many states are turning toward mandatory IID use is that the devices have been found to reduce the DUI recidivism rate by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is extremely significant since studies show as many as 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers with suspended driver's licenses continue to drive.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Interlock devices keep drunk drivers off Georgia roadways by preventing their vehicles from starting. The device itself, according to the Century Council, is wired into the ignition system of the car. The driver must submit a breath sample through a tube connected to the device, and the breath sample is then analyzed for alcohol content. If the driver's blood alcohol content level is found to be above a preset amount, which is usually 0.02 percent, the car will not start. Once the car is started, the driver will be alerted to submit breath samples periodically throughout the drive in order to keep the car going.

States that enforce a mandatory interlock device law have seen a significant decline in the DUI fatality rate. For example, Arizona has had a 45 percent decrease in the number of drunk driving deaths, while Kansas has seen a 23 percent decline in DUI deaths since enacting the law. Many states have also seen a decrease in the number of serious injuries caused by drunk driving accidents.

Victims of drunk drivers may need legal counsel

People who have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Georgia may suffer from severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage and even paralysis. Many have lost loved ones because of drunk driver negligence. A personal injury attorney may be helpful in gathering the evidence pertaining to your case.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury