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Reducing fatal crashes with ignition interlock laws

Drunk driving was a factor in almost one-third of all of the motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States in 2014. According to researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, state laws that require the use of ignition interlocks for all individuals who have been convicted of a drunk driving offense may decrease the number of deadly drunk driving crashes. Washington is one of those mandatory states.

The researchers examined the effects of interlock laws on the occurrences of the fatal crashes involving alcohol that took place from 1992 to 2013. The results showed that a 7 percent reduction in the amount of fatal motor vehicle crashes that involved one or more drivers with blood alcohol levels over the legal limit was associated with mandatory interlock laws. This corresponds to the prevention of almost, 1,250 fatal crashes in the states that have mandatory interlock laws and since the first legislation was passed in 1993.

Ignition interlocks are devices that are able to detect alcohol levels. They are attached to a vehicle's ignition and will prevent the vehicle from being started if an alcohol reading that is over a preset limit is detected. All of the states in the country have some form of ignition interlock legislation. However, as of March 2016, just 26 states have mandatory laws that require all individuals who have been convicted of DUI offenses to use interlock devices to drive legally.

A criminal defense attorney may assist individuals who have been charged with drunk driving byensuring their rights are being protected. The attorney may evaluate the circumstances of a case and may work to have the charges reduced or dismissed if a client's rights were violated during a traffic stop or the field sobriety tests.

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