Ignition interlocks are significantly reducing drunk driving, according to new data from MADD.
 - Photo via Chris Yarzab/Flickr.

Ignition interlocks are significantly reducing drunk driving, according to new data from MADD.

Photo via Chris Yarzab/Flickr.

In-vehicle breathalyzers have halted alcohol-impaired drivers from starting their engines over 3 million times in the past 12 years, according to data collected from 11 ignition interlock manufacturers and evaluated by Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

MADD credits the use of ignition interlocks as a key contributing factor to the reduced rate of drunk driving fatalities. Specifically, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 19% since 2006, according to the new report — despite the fact that people are driving more now than they did 12 years ago.

In 2018 alone, ignition interlocks stopped almost 348,000 attempts on the part of motorists nationwide to drive drunk.

The new report identifies the states that experienced the most drunk-driving attempts prevented by an ignition interlock in 2018.  Wisconsin led the way with 41,148 drunk-driving attempts prevented followed by Texas with 32,850. Other states that ranked among the top five for preventing impaired driving using an interlock include California with 24,459, Iowa with 14,961 and Arkansas with 14,727 drunk-driving preventions.

The report comes just prior to Memorial Day weekend — one of the deadliest holidays on the nation's roadways, in part, due to drivers who over-indulgence at beaches and backyard barbeques.

MADD believes the nation's roadways are far safer thanks to ignition interlock legislation.  

Today, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have all-offender ignition interlock laws, and states have made improvements to their laws year after year. In 2019, Kentucky became the 33rd state to enact an all-offender law. Similar legislation is pending in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

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