Drunken drivers who were convicted for the first time are less likely to drive while impaired again if they were forced to have alcohol interlock in their vehicles, according to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Interlock devices require the driver to perform a Breathalyzer test before the car’s ignition can be turned on.
Fifteen states currently require ignition interlocks for first-time offenders and another 22 states require the device for drivers that were arrested with high blood-alcohol content or are repeat offenders. California has a pilot program in four major counties for first-time offenders.
The institute said it is supporting nationwide legislation that would require all states to use interlocks after a drunken driving conviction. It added that the study would likely encourage other states to made the device mandatory.
“More than 10,000 people are killed and another 350,000 are injured in drunk driving crashes each year in the U.S.,” said Jan Withers, MADD national president, who added that the study confirms that the device can prevent drunken driving-related crashes.