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Study: ignition interlock laws lower fatal DUI accidents

According to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health, ignition interlock laws are reducing fatal drunk driving accidents in Tennessee and other states. The results of the study, which were published in January 2017, found that the number of fatal drunk driving crashes decreased by about 7 percent, or 1,250 fatal accidents.

Before drivers can start a vehicle that is equipped with such a device, the interlock must test the amount of alcohol drivers may have in their system. If the device detects a certain amount of alcohol, the driver will be unable to start the vehicle.

While all 50 states have some sort of law involving interlock devices, only 26 have mandatory interlock device laws that require all drivers who are convicted of drunk driving to use them. The study found that the states that have mandatory laws were more effective than those that only required some convicted drunk drivers to use the interlock devices. Over the last decade or so, more and more states have been moving towards mandatory laws.

The state of Tennessee introduced what was called the "first offender law" in 2013. This law requires that all individuals who were convicted of drunk driving, including first time offenders, are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their personal vehicles. However, having the interlock device installed and maintained can be expensive and a burden. Further, people may also face additional legal consequences that could include a fine and a jail sentence. Those who have been handed drunk driving charges may want to have the assistance of an attorney in attempting to combat the allegations.

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