Study Shows Ignition Interlock Devices Reduce Fatal DUI Accidents

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that states that have laws in place requiring ignition interlock devices after any drunk driving conviction have a lower number of alcohol-related fatal car accidents than other states. This study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Colorado School of Public Health, is the first to research the impact of ignition interlock devices on fatal DUI accidents nationwide.

According to the research, states that require all drivers convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device see an average of a seven percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above 0.08. States saw an eight percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving a BAC at or above 0.15.

The study estimates that ignition interlock laws, first passed in 1993, have prevented approximately 1,250 deadly alcohol-related crashes. 

How do these devices work?

The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to prevent previous DUI offenders from driving while drunk. Professionals install the device on the car’s ignition, and drivers must blow into the tube before the ignition will start the car. Some devices also require periodic blows during trips. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not operate.

What are the current laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania?

Neither New Jersey nor Pennsylvania has mandatory ignition interlock devices for all first time offenders at this time.

New Jersey

New Jersey DUI laws, enacted in 2010, allow the judge to use his or her own discretion for first time offenders with a blood alcohol content of less than 0.15 percent.

Those who test at 0.15 percent or higher must install an ignition interlock device for at least six months to one year.

A second and third DUI each include one to three years of required interlock device use, in addition to license suspension and other consequences.


Pennsylvania law, enacted in 2000, requires ignition interlock devices for repeated drunk driving convictions. The law calls for a mandatory device for a period of at least a year before the driver can receive an unrestricted driver’s license. The look-back period for this is ten years, so DUI offenses that occurred more than ten years ago do not count as prior convictions.

What can you do after a drunk driver causes a Bucks County accident?

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a Bucks County, Philadelphia, or New Jersey crash caused by a drunk driver, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your injuries. Cordisco & Saile, LLC can help you file an insurance claim, collect the necessary evidence, and fight for a fair settlement.

Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a time to meet with one of our Bucks County car accident lawyers

Categorized: DUI