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Mandatory ignition interlock laws reduce fatal crashes

According to a study, states that have mandatory ignition interlock laws have seen a reduced number of fatal car accidents that involved at least one drunk driver. In fact, these mandatory laws were associated in a 7 percent decrease in fatal crashes. In California, these devices are mandatory only in certain counties.

These devices connect directly to the vehicle’s ignition system. Before the vehicle will turn on, the driver must blow into the device. The device will detect the amount of alcohol drivers have in their blood stream. If the driver’s BAC is over the preset amount, the driver will be unable to start the vehicle. Traditionally, these devices were often only required by repeat offenders or at the judge’s discretion. However, as of March 2016, 26 states have mandatory ignition interlock laws that require first time offenders to have one of these devices installed.

In 2014, about 10,000 deaths resulted from drunk driving accidents. However, the study showed that mandatory laws versus permissive or partial laws could reduce that number significantly.

Drunk driving charges have severe legal consequences even if it is a first offense. Not only will motorists potentially lose their driving privileges, they may also be facing additional consequences associated with any other criminal charge, including incarceration and fines. A criminal defense attorney may help a person facing these consequences by evaluating the case and determining what options the person has. In some cases, a challenge can be made to the initial traffic stop itself if it can be demonstrated that it was made without the requisite reasonable suspicion.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.