Sadly, many lives in Maryland and across the country have been lost as the result of people who have made the decision to drink and drive. In fact, 130 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2014, accounting for 29.4% of all motor vehicle deaths in the state. While this number may seem high, the death rate actually dropped by 7.8% from the year prior. State officials predict that this number will continue to drop because of an ignition interlock device bill that was passed this year.
Ignition interlock devices are designed to save lives by keeping drunk drivers off of the roads. Since the bill was passed, all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders, are required to have these devices installed in their vehicles. Before DUI offenders can start a vehicle that is equipped with an interlock device, they must blow into a tube that is connected to the dashboard monitor. The machine then measures the driver’s blood alcohol content level, and if it is above a certain limit, the car will not start.
Not only do ignition interlock devices keep drunk motorists from driving while the machines are installed in the vehicles, DUI offenders are less likely to drive drunk once the devices are removed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that interlock devices help to lower the rate of repeat DUI incidents by up to 67 percent. Since Maryland has taken the step to increase the use of ignition interlock devices, many lives could be saved as a result.