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Maryland Considers Ignition Interlock Devices To Reduce Car Accident Fatalities

Over 25% of traffic deaths involve a driver who exceeds the legal limit for alcohol. Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are used now under some circumstances in all states for those who commit impaired driving offenses. These devices require the driver to submit a breath sample that detects alcohol prior to starting the vehicle. An estimated 500 deaths could be prevented if all states enacted stricter IID requirements.

Maryland’s Potential Legislation

The Maryland House Bill 1391 proposes that those convicted of a third DUI offense be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for at least a two-year period. This bill would require the offender to have an “interlock restriction” on their driver’s license and have the system monitored and tested twice a year. Those who fail to have the device installed within three days after sentencing will have their vehicle impounded or immobilized. Anyone who allows their vehicle without an ignition interlock to be used by an offender would face fines and potential incarceration.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) State Report

MADD recently reviewed the DUI laws of each state and provided an evaluation of their effectiveness. The basis for their evaluation included the following factors:

  • The usage of sobriety checkpoints across the state
  • Requirements associated with mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices
  • Their policies of immediate administrative license suspensions for those arrested for DUI
  • Whether drunk drivers who are transporting children at the time face additional penalties
  • The manner in which those refusing to submit to alcohol testing are penalized

They found the five highest (best) ranking states included: Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. Those ranked at the bottom (worst) included: Idaho, Iowa, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Maryland Data

Across the state, there were 107,789 reported accidents leading to 521 fatalities and over 44,000 injuries in 2015. Roughly one person is killed every 17 hours. Maryland’s Toward Zero Deaths program seeks to reduce fatal traffic accidents in the long-run by 50%. In the short-term, state goals are to reduce the fatality totals to 390, equivalent to a 25% drop, by the end of 2020.

Do Interlock Devices Reduce Recidivism & Serve as a Deterrent?

Ignition interlock devices are a tool used following a DUI offense in order to reduce recidivism and in efforts to maintain the best interests of public safety. The effectiveness of these devices as a deterrent for potential drunk drivers is still unclear. One recent report revealed that when the devices are installed, the likelihood of a repeat offense is reduced by approximately 70%.

Overall Impact & Effectiveness

All states have enacted some form of ignition interlock program. Overall, merely 20% of those charged with impaired driving ultimately end up having them installed. Eric Teoh, of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, says that mandatory interlock requirements for all offenders have been shown to reduce alcohol-related fatalities by 16%.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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