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Mandatory ignition interlock device laws may help to reduce the DUI fatality rate, as well as the number of drunk driving accidents and injuries.

Despite the hefty penalties Ohio law enforcement imposes on drunk drivers, people continue to drive while intoxicated. By doing so, they are putting their lives as well as the lives of other motorists and pedestrians in serious danger. Many states, including Ohio, have enacted legislation to decrease DUI deaths and increase the safety of motorists on the road. Annie’s Law would require all convicted DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock device. Although it was introduced to legislature in 2014, Annie’s law failed to pass. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has encouraged state lawmakers to reconsider this law, which would help reduce drunk driver accidents, injuries and deaths in the state.

It’s in the numbers

Nationwide, drunk driving fatalities reached 10,076 in 2013, according to MADD. That same year, 271 people were killed in Ohio drunk driving car accidents. This accounted for over 27 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in the state. Ohio reported 12,137 car accidents involving people with a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.01 percent, and 7,034 people were injured in these accidents.

Ignition interlock devices: What are they?

Interlock devices are small, breath analyzing machines that are wired directly into the vehicle’s ignition system. According to TechHive, a dashboard monitor enables the driver to blow a breath sample through a tube that is connected to the device. The IID detects the amount of alcohol present in the breath sample and calculates a blood alcohol content level. If the BAC is below the preset level, which is usually 0.02 percent, the driver is able to start the car. The driver is also required to submit additional breath samples periodically during the drive.

The vehicle will lock down if the driver attempts to start the car with a BAC level that is at or above the preset limit. This makes it impossible for the driver to operate the vehicle if they are impaired or intoxicated.

Are IID’s effective?

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that IID’s are extremely effective at reducing the prevalence of repeat drunk drivers on the nation’s roadways. While as many as 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders operate a vehicle with suspended driver’s licenses, IIDs reduce the drunk driving recidivism rate by 67 percent. Many states that enforce a law requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use IIDs have seen a significant decline in the drunk driving fatality rates, as well as catastrophic injuries. Kansas and Hawaii have seen a 23 percent decline in DUI deaths, and Arizona has had a 45 percent decrease in DUI fatalities.

DUI accidents: Catastrophic injuries and deaths

People who have been involved in a DUI auto accident may suffer from serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord damage and even paralysis. Some people may have lost a loved one because of another driver’s decision to drink and drive. A personal injury attorney in Ohio may help victims of DUI car accidents receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages from work, property damage and emotional damage.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury