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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Breathalyzer lock laws may make Washington roads safer

A study indicates that laws requiring individuals to use breathalyzer locks have significantly reduced the number of deaths involving drunk drivers. Sometimes referred to as interlock devices, breathalyzer locks function as breathalyzers to determine someone's blood alcohol concentration. If an individual is above the legal limit, the car will not start.

Breathalyzer lock laws started being passed in states in 1993. All states have some sort of law that requires that people have a breathalyzer lock installed in their vehicles, but the specifics vary from state to state. In some states, these devices are required for individuals who have been convicted of a DUI, but other states only order them for repeat offenders or those who were convicted with a BAC that was well above the legal limit.

The study indicates that about 1,250 fatal alcohol-related accidents have been prevented in states with mandatory breathalyzer lock laws, which is a 7 percent decrease. This is the first study to determine whether these laws are actually effective, and the researchers involved hope that this proof leads more states to adopt these types of laws.

If someone is facing charges for drunk driving, he or she should be aware that there are a number of penalties that may be imposed if he or she is convicted, and being required to use a breathalyzer lock is just one. Individuals who are convicted may lose their driver's licenses, be required to pay large fines and even be sentenced to time in jail. Therefore, even those who are facing charges for the first time should take them seriously. A lawyer could explain the penalties that could be imposed if a conviction is obtained as well as determine strategies that could be used to defend against the charges.

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