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Ignition interlocks mandated in 26 states

Louisiana law requires ignition interlock devices to be installed for first-time DUI offenders whose BAC was .20 or higher. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been trying to get every state to pass laws requiring these devices for all first-time offenders. MADD says that the results in states that have done so are proof that the tougher legislation works.

In April, Maryland became the 26th state to pass a law requiring people to install an ignition interlock device on their cars after their first DUI conviction if they had a blood alcohol content of at least .08. Judges now must order these interlocks to be on for at least six months. Before this law was passed, first-time Maryland DUI offenders had to have close to twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system before the interlock device law applied to them. Several other states are considering this type of legislation. MADD claims that the devices have stopped more than 1.7 million attempts to drive while impaired, and points out that in some states with these tough laws, drunk driving fatalities have decreased by up to 50 percent.

The ignition interlocks consist of a breathalyzer drivers must blow into to show they have no alcohol in their system or else the car will not start. According to MADD, these devices are important because more than 30 percent of convicted DUI offenders have been arrested for the offense before.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol claims far too many lives each year. The surviving family members of a person who is killed by a drunk driver often face immediate financial burdens along with their grief. A personal injury lawyer can often assist in filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault motorist seeking compensation for funeral and burial expenses and other losses that have been sustained.

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