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Study says ignition interlock devices save lives

Charlotte-area drivers who are convicted of drunk driving only have a mandatory requirement to put an ignition interlock device on their vehicle if they have a blood alcohol content at or above 0.15. However, according to a study that appeared in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine", in states that have mandatory ignition interlock device laws for people with drunk driving convictions at lower blood alcohol levels, lives are saved.

The study found that in states that have a mandatory ignition interlock device law with a first conviction, fatal crashes in which at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol were reduced by 7 percent. It is estimated that since 1993, when states first passed laws about a mandatory device, around 1,250 lives have been saved. There were around 10,000 deaths from alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in 2014, and this made up around one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities in that year.

Researchers used data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to examine crashes where drivers had a blood alcohol level at 0.08 and those in which the level was higher than 0.15. It also classified laws as mandatory, partial or at a judge's discretion. Researchers said theirs is the first study to examine all 50 states, and they hoped that all states would be convinced to implement mandatory laws.

Drunk driving charges can be serious, and people who have been handed them might want to consult an attorney. In addition to potentially having to install an ignition interlock device, they might also faces fines, license suspension and jail time. However, a criminal defense attorney can sometimes create a successful strategy to counter the allegations, such as by challenging the way in which authorities conducted the traffic stop and subsequent sobriety tests.

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