DUI Fatalities In OR Increase Despite Strong Interlock Device Laws

Oregon requires all convicted DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, which has helped to save lives in the state.

People who are convicted of drunk driving in Oregon are subject to a host of penalties, including fines, loss of their driver's license and mandatory use of ignition interlock devices. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Oregon is one of 25 states that has a current law in place requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use an interlock device on their vehicles. Studies conducted by MADD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that these small machines reduce the number of repeat drunk drivers by up to 67 percent and have a significant effect on the DUI fatality rate.

A look at the facts

Since Oregon enacted legislation requiring IID use for all convicted DUI offenders, the DUI fatality rate in the state has dropped by 30 percent, according to MADD. From 2012 to 2013, however, the number of people who died in drunk driving car accidents in the state increased by 19.3 percent. In 2013, more than 33 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths were caused by drunk drivers. Despite this unusual spike in DUI deaths, Oregon officials are hopeful that continued use of ignition interlock devices will help to lower the death and injury rate once again.

IIDs keep drunk drivers off of the streets

How do ignition interlock devices work to curb drunk drivers and keep them off of the streets? These small machines are linked directly to the vehicle's ignition system, according to TechHive. Anytime drivers wish to start their vehicles, they must blow a breath sample into the device. The machine then screens the sample for the presence of alcohol. If it finds that the driver has a blood alcohol content level that is over the present limit, which is usually 0.02 percent, then the car will not start. While as many as 75 percent of drunk driving offenders continue to operate a vehicle with a suspended driver's license, offenders who have an IID installed in their vehicle are unable to drive. Not only does this keep drunk drivers off of the roads, but it protects innocent motorists from potential car accidents, injuries and even death.

Saving lives

Oregon is not the only state that has seen an overall decrease in DUI fatality rates since mandating IID use for all convicted DUI offenders. States, including Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alaska have seen more than a 28 percent decline in drunk driving deaths.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a drunk driving auto accident, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney in Oregon. You may have received serious injuries from the accident, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, broken bones or even paralysis. A lawyer may be able to organize a case to help you receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work and emotional trauma.