MS lawmakers optimistic that new law will lower DUI accident deaths

Mississippi has been given a five-star rating by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for implementing certain safety laws and guidelines to protect drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and others on the road from drunk drivers. Most recently, state lawmakers passed legislation requiring all convicted DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for a period of time. This includes first-time offenders, as well as drunk drivers with multiple offenses. Interlock devices help to keep the roads free from drunk drivers who have been convicted of a DUI offense. As a result, the number of DUI-related car accidents, serious injuries and deaths in Mississippi is expected to drop substantially.

Are interlock devices effective?

A number of other states that have enforced this law for several years have seen a significant decline in their DUI fatality rates, according to MADD. Oregon, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arizona and New Mexico have all seen more than a 30 percent drop in DUI accident deaths. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of people who are convicted of subsequent DUI offenses has gone down by at least 67 percent as a result of increased interlock device use. Even after an IID is removed from a vehicle, drivers are still 39 percent less likely to commit another drunk driving offense when compared to a convicted DUI offender who never used an IID at all.

How do interlock devices work?

Once an ignition interlock device has been installed in a vehicle, the driver is unable to start the car without submitting a breath sample. The IID uses the breath sample to calculate the driver's current blood alcohol content level. If his or her BAC level is over a preset limit, the car will not start and the driver must wait for a period of time before they are able to try again. In addition, the driver must continue to submit breath samples periodically during the drive.

The drunk driving problem in MS

People who have been affected by a drunk driving car accident know just how devastating the problem is. In 2013, more than 34 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths were caused by drunk drivers, which took the lives of 210 people. This number increased by nearly 10 percent from 2012. If you or someone you know has been in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you with your case.