October 29, 2016

Pennsylvania could potentially save the lives of innocent motorists by requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use interlock devices.

According to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving research study, more than 290,000 people were injured and over 10,000 people were killed as a result of drunk drivers in 2013 alone. . That equates to one injury every two minutes and one death every 52 minutes as a result of negligent drunk drivers. In Pennsylvania, over 30 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involved drunk drivers.

Approximately one-third of all drivers who are arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated are repeat offenders. As a result, many states have turned to using ignition interlock devices as a way to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania lawmakers have not yet enacted legislation mandating such a requirement, leaving interlock device punishment in the Judge’s discretional alone.

The facts about ignition interlock devices

Drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a certain amount of time. This time period depends on whether the driver is a first-time offender or has multiple DUI offenders on their record. According to MADD, up to 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders who have had their driver’s licenses suspended continue to drive, despite the suspension. Ignition interlock devices offer a practical solution to this problem, as vehicles that are wired with IIDs will only start if the driver is not intoxicated.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that interlock devices reduce the drunk driving recidivism rate by up to 67 percent. Many states that require convicted DUI offenders to use an interlock device have seen a significant decline in the drunk driving fatality rate. For example, Arizona, Louisiana, West Virginia and New Mexico have seen a 35 percent decrease in the number of people killed by drunk drivers since implementing the mandatory ignition interlock device program. What is Pennsylvania waiting for?

How ignition interlock devices work

Cars that are wired with ignition interlock devices require a breath sample before the car will start,. Once the driver blows a breath sample into a tube, the machine will analyze the sample for the presence of alcohol. If the driver’s breath reveals the presence of alcohol, the car will not start. If, on the other hand, no alcohol is detected, the vehicle will start. Some interlock devices even require the driver to submit to subsequent breath tests during the drive. If the driver misses or fails one of these retests, the car will shut off and lock up for a certain period of time. This helps to ensure that the DUI offender cannot drive while drunk.

Seeking legal assistance in a drunk driving car accident

Despite the precautions our law does ensure, there will also be people who make that choice to drink while drunk or intoxicated. Those people must be held accountable for their actions. If you have been injured in a drunk driving car accident in Pennsylvania, you are entitled to legal representation for the property damage to your car, medical expenses, lost wages from work, as well as the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the collision and your injuries. Call one of the attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day. We are ready to help.