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New study shows interlock devices reduce alcohol-related fatal crashes

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has determined that requiring an interlock device for people convicted of driving under the influence helps reduce the rate of repeat offenses. In Washington State, one of just 15 states in which anyone convicted of drunk driving is required to install an interlock device if they want to continue driving, the rate of repeat offenders fell by 12 percent after the program went into effect. And, as Anne McCartt, the study’s main author puts it, “Drivers with previous impaired-driving convictions are over represented in alcohol-related fatal crashes, so deterring people from reoffending is a good first step to reduce the death toll.”

Thanks in part to data from this study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is pushing for legislation that would force states to require interlock devices for all drunk driving convictions or risk losing out on federal highway funds. As McCartt points out, “It’s easier to drive illegally with a suspended license than it is to defeat an interlock.”

As of now, California has a pilot program requiring anyone convicted of DUI offenses in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare County to install certified ignition interlock devices on all vehicles they own or operate. The program is set to run through December 31, 2015.


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