Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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Fewer traffic fatalities with ignition interlock devices

New York motorists who have a first-time conviction for driving under the influence are required by law to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. However, this is not the case in every state. As of March 2016, only 26 states had a mandatory requirement that the device must be installed after a first offense when a person is driving over the legal limit. In other states, the device is installed when the driver has a higher blood alcohol content, often .15 or above, for a second offense or at the discretion of the judge.

In a study that appeared in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine", researchers reported that there was a 7 percent drop in alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents in states that had a mandatory ignition interlock requirement. This means that since 1993, approximately 1,250 lives have been saved. About one-third of all traffic fatalities in 2014 had alcohol as a factor for a total of about 10,000 deaths.

The study examined data from 1982 to 2013 provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It was the first large-scale study to look at data from all 50 states. Researchers say that only recently has there been data showing that ignition interlock devices do lower the fatality rate.

A person who is facing a drunk driving charges may face penalties in addition to the installation of an ignition interlock device. These penalties might include jail time, fines, and a license suspension. A DWI conviction can also have an impact on a person's professional life. People who work in areas such as education, politics or health care might even be suspended from their jobs after a DWI conviction. However, there may be strategies an attorney can use to get charges and penalties reduced or dismissed.

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