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NTSB Proposes Ignition Lock Requirements for All Drunk Drivers

According to a recommendation issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on December 11, every state should require all convicted DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Ignition locks are designed to prevent people from starting a car’s engine if they test positive for alcohol, and are already required for all …

According to a recommendation issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on December 11, every state should require all convicted DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Ignition locks are designed to prevent people from starting a car’s engine if they test positive for alcohol, and are already required for all convicted drunken drivers in 17 states, not including Oklahoma. The NTSB proposal, however, would expand this requirement to include all drunk drivers in all 50 states, including first-time offenders. If you are facing charges for drunk driving in Oklahoma, contact our DUI defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center as soon as possible. It’s important to recognize the impact that a DUI conviction in Oklahoma could have on your life, even if it is your first offense. Don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights – contact our Oklahoma City-based law firm today.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Work

The NTSB indicates that ignition interlock devices are the best currently available solution to reducing the risk of death associated with drunk driving accidents, which account for approximately one-third of the more than 32,000 traffic deaths that occur every year in the United States. Drivers breathe into breathalyzers mounted on the dashboard of the vehicle, and if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than the programmed limit – usually .02 or .04 percent – the car’s engine won’t start. In addition to recommending ignition lock devices be required for all convicted drunk drivers, the board also urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to expedite its effort to develop systems with car manufacturers that can determine a driver’s BAC using infrared light when the driver presses the ignition button.

Interlock Devices Could Reduce DUI-Related Deaths

The five-member NTSB panel made its unanimous recommendations after analyzing a new study that found an average of 360 people a year are killed in accidents caused by drivers turning the wrong way into oncoming traffic on high-speed highways. The board’s study analyzed data from 1,566 collisions between 2004 and 2009, as well as nine wrong-way collisions investigated by the NTSB itself. In 59% of the accidents, wrong-way drivers registered BAC levels more than twice the legal limit, and in another 10% of crashes, drivers had blood-alcohol levels between .08 and .14 percent. According to the NTSB, reducing drunken driving is perhaps the most obvious way to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities caused by wrong-way accidents, and ignition interlock devices could achieve this goal.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for nearly 31% of motor vehicle deaths in 2010, and that percentage has remained relatively constant since 1995. In light of these statistics, safety advocates have been lobbying states to pass more stringent laws requiring ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders. Oklahoma does not yet have such a law in place, but it appears as though pressure to pass a measure requiring the use of an ignition lock device could result in action in the near future. If you have been charged with drunk driving in Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in Oklahoma, contact our qualified criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center for legal help. Our attorneys have extensive experienced protecting the legal rights of DUI offenders in the state, and can help you build a strong defense in your case.

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