In New York, it is mandatory for people convicted of drunk driving charges to get an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles. As of March 2016, only 26 states made it mandatory while other states will only apply it to a second offense or at the discretion of the judge. However, a January 2016 study that appeared in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” found a significant decrease in alcohol-related fatalities in states that had mandatory ignition interlock device laws.
An ignition interlock device works by measuring a driver’s blood alcohol content based on their breath. If the driver is above the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. The study found that there was a 7 percent decrease in fatalities related to drunk driving when the device was mandatory. This means that since the first state laws about the device in 1993, there have been around 1,250 fewer deadly motor vehicle accidents.
In 2014, alcohol was a cause of about one-third of all fatal crashes in the United States. Around 10,000 people died in those crashes. Researchers say they hope states will continue to adopt mandatory ignition interlock device laws now that evidence is available that they significantly reduce the incidence of crashes.
While having to install an ignition interlock device may be one consequence of a drunk driving conviction, some other penalties can also be quite severe. For example, a person might have to pay a fine or go to jail. Some people may face professional repercussions as well. Some teachers, health care workers, people who work in politics and other fields may find their careers in jeopardy. An attorney might be able to suggest strategies for dealing with a DUI.