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Using ignition interlocks to reduce crash fatalities

Driving while intoxicated is a serious issue in Texas and the rest of the country. In 2014, fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in which alcohol was a factor accounted for almost 10,000 deaths, which was one-third of all of the motor vehicle crash deaths for that year. However, according to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado 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 can reduce the amount of fatal vehicle crashes involving alcohol.

The study showed that the implementation of mandatory interlock laws resulted in a seven percent reduction in the occurrences of fatal vehicle crashes that had at least one driver with an illegal blood alcohol level. It is estimated that since they were first passed in 1993, 1,250 fatal crashes have been prevented because of mandatory interlock laws.

An ignition interlock is a device that is connected to a vehicle's ignition and that reads the level of alcohol in the driver's breath. If the device detects an alcohol level that is over the preset limit on the device, the vehicle will not be able to start. All 50 states have laws pertaining to ignition interlocks. However, only 26 states enforce mandatory laws that compel everyone who is convicted of a DUI charge to use an interlock so that they can drive legally.

Individuals who have been accused of drunk driving should speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as is practicable so that a strategy to counter the allegations can be constructed. Potential defenses could include a challenge to the way the traffic stop was handled or to the calibration of the breath machine.

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