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Safety Groups Push For Wider Ignition Interlock Mandates

Several national safety groups are pushing for a wider adoption of ignition interlock mandates for first-time drunk drivers. Intoxicated driving is one of the most common causes of serious car accidents and studies have shown that the use of an ignition interlock device prevents recidivism.

An ignition interlock is a small device that requires a breath sample before allowing a car's engine to start. The interlock device also requires periodic updates to ensure a driver has not consumed any alcohol while driving. Some studies show that the interlock devices in DUI offenders' cars prevent repeat drunk driving offenses in up to 95 percent of cases when compared to cars without the devices, but only four counties in California mandate interlocks for first-time drunk drivers.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of the many national organizations campaigning for broader adoption of ignition interlock devices for first-time drunk drivers. The president of MADD cites a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which found that interlock devices are incredibly effective in preventing recidivism in drunk drivers.

"This study shows what we've known for several years - ignition interlocks work," said MADD president Jan Withers. "That's why it's so important to require all convicted drunk drivers to use these lifesaving devices. MADD will continue to work with lawmakers around the country to enact this type of legislation, in order to save lives and prevent injuries."

Source: USA Today, "Safety group seeks ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders," Larry Copeland, March 6, 2012

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