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Randy Appleton
Randy Appleton
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More Ignition Locks Urged in MA to Prevent DUI Deaths

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Over the last 10 years, in-vehicle breathalyzer devices have prevented at least 31,000 people in Massachusetts from driving drunk, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Around the country, ignition interlock devices that prevent convicted drunk drivers from starting their vehicle when intoxicated have prevented more than two million people from driving drunk. 

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MADD advocates argue that even more possibly drunk drivers could be kept off the road if Massachusetts passes a law mandating first-time offenders install ignition interlock devices on their cars.

There currently are two bills in the Massachusetts state legislature that would tighten the laws related to drunk driving and ignition interlock devices. State laws currently require the devices for drivers who have a hardship license after then have had two or more DUI convictions. The new proposed law would require all first-time offenders to install them too.

An ignition interlock device tests the driver’s BAC  or blood alcohol content level before they may start their vehicle. The device is about the size of a smartphone and is an effective way to monitor DUI offenders who need to drive to work or school.

Massachusetts and Idaho are the only states today that do not have a first offender requirement for ignition interlock devices.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were at least 95 drunk driving deaths in the state in 2015 and 143 in 2014. 

Our View

Our personal injury attorneys in Virginia know well the devastation that drunk drivers cause. Drunk drivers kill and injure thousands of innocent people every year. We want this to never happen again, so we strongly support the use of ignition interlock devices.

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded in 2012 that motorists convicted of DUI are less likely to offend again if they have ignition interlock devices on their cars. The study found that after a state expanded the ignition interlock requirement to everyone convicted of DUI, the recidivism rate dropped by 12%. 

Drunk drivers have injured many of our personal injury lawsuit clients in the past. Any increase in the use of these devices would probably save lives and reduce injuries. We had a Virginia client who was walking on a sidewalk and was hit by a drunk driver. He suffered serious leg injuries and had to have five surgeries. We obtained a personal injury settlement of $100,000 for his pain and suffering, but he still had to go through months of rehabilitation and operations to recover.