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Drunk drivers cause chaos on the road. Yet, ignition interlock devices can help to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders.
Many national and state campaigns warn people about the dangers of drinking and driving. Sadly, countless motorists continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, even after they have been arrested for a DUI in the past. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that motorists can drive intoxicated an average of 80 times before they are finally arrested for drinking and driving. This places a serious risk on all of the other Oklahoma motorists that share the road with these negligent drivers.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, car accidents involving drunk drivers were responsible for taking the lives of 10,032 people and injuring an additional 290,000 people in 2013. That same year, there were 3,824 car vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers in Oklahoma alone. Approximately 2,507 people were injured and 170 people were killed in those accidents. Although the DUI fatality rate in Oklahoma decreased by 18.7 percent from 2012 to 2013, those deaths still accounted for over 25 percent of all car accident deaths in the state.
Oklahoma officials have enacted legislation in an attempt to reduce the DUI accident, injury and fatality rate in the state. The 2011 Erin Swezey Act requires all DUI offenders who have multiple convictions to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, according to MADD. It is up to the discretion of the judge who is presiding over the case to determine whether a first-time offender should be made to use an IID as well. MADD reported that at least 25 states in the nation have laws in place making it mandatory for all convicted DUI offenders to use these life-saving devices in their vehicles. The DUI fatality rates in those states have decreased significantly, leading many to believe that interlock devices can prevent deadly drunk driving accidents from occurring.
Interlock devices keep convicted drunk drivers from re-offending. The CDC reported that IIDs reduce the drunk driving recidivism rate by 67 percent in comparison to simply suspending the offenders’ driver’s licenses. In fact, up to 75 percent of DUI offenders continue to get behind the wheel with a suspended driver’s license. The ignition interlock device makes it impossible for drunk drivers to start their vehicles if their blood alcohol content level measures over a certain amount.
Any type of car accident can be catastrophic. However, collisions involving drunk drivers can be especially tragic. If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may want to seek legal help from a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma.
Contact a Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyer. Our office is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we serve clients in Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, Collinsville and Sand Springs.