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New Study Finds Ignition Interlocks Reduce Fatal Drunk Driving Crashes by 7%

MADD Renews Call for Lifesaving All-Offender Ignition Interlock Law in Every State


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WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 5, 2017) — Mothers Against Drunk Driving applauds a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, that reports a 7 percent reduction in fatal drunk driving crashes in states that require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders.

One of MADD’s top legislative priorities as part of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, now in its 10th year, is to help pass legislation in all 50 states that requires or highly incentivizes the use of ignition interlocks starting with the first offense. Currently, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have all-offender ignition interlock laws.

“MADD advocates for laws requiring this proven technology because we know it saves lives,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “This study proves the effectiveness of these laws, and we are grateful to Johns Hopkins for providing strong, persuasive evidence that we should continue our work with all states to pass all-offenders ignition interlock laws and continue to improve those already on the books.”

The comprehensive study, “Ignition Interlock Laws: Effects on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes, 1982-2013,” considers an array of traffic safety improvements that likely contributed to decreases in drunk driving fatalities, and zeroed in on ignition interlocks. Taking all factors into account, researchers credited laws that require ignition interlocks for all offenders with a 7 percent reduction in fatal drunk driving crashes in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. The result: 1,250 lives saved, according to the study.

“Laws mandating interlock use for all offenders are more effective at reducing alcohol-involved fatal crashes than laws requiring ignition interlocks for segments of high-risk offenders,” researchers wrote. “Enactment of mandatory/all interlock laws in states that currently have partial and permissive laws is a public health priority.”

The study follows a University of Pennsylvania study published March 17 in the American Journal for Public Health. The report, “Impact of State Ignition Interlock Laws on Alcohol-Involved Crash Deaths in the United States,” found all-offender ignition interlock laws could reduce drunk driving deaths by 15 percent. In February, MADD released its first-ever ignition interlock report to show how many times ignition interlock have stopped someone from driving drunk. Across the nation, ignition interlocks had stopped more than 1.77 million drunk driving attempts.

For MADD’s recommendations on steps needed to improve each state law, see “Ignition Interlock Laws in the USA.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD changed American culture by introducing the “designated driver” in 1986 and related red ribbon awareness campaign Tie One On For Safety® now in its 30th year. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is marking its 10th anniversary and reducing drunk driving fatalities by 25 percent since its launch. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing a service every four minutes through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Power of Parents® and Power of Youth® programs reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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