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Oklahoma expands interlock use for drunk driving offenses

Despite the increase in public awareness, education and penalties, alcohol-related driving fatalities in Oklahoma continue to rise. However, one defensive tool seems to work to prevent drunk driving accidents, and that is the ignition interlock system. Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently applauded the state legislature for working to increase the role of the interlock devices in the efforts to reduce the number of DUI accidents.

Those convicted of DUI will be required to install and maintain ignition interlock systems for at least six months after a conviction. At this time, ignition interlock is only required for repeat offenders or if a first-time offender has a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher. If Governor Mary Fallin signs the measure into law, Oklahoma will be the 29th state to make ignition interlock systems mandatory for every offender.

Independent university studies show that states with mandatory ignition interlock penalties for all DUI offenders have seen a decrease in drunk driving fatalities by as much as 15 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that ignition interlocks are 67 more successful in preventing repeat offenses than license suspension penalties. First offenders who complete the ignition interlock requirement, along with an Impaired Driver Accountability Program will regain their driving privileges as well as skills to help them avoid future drunk driving incidents.

Oklahoma and other states are beginning to address issues to prevent drunk driving rather than simply multiplying penalties. Nevertheless, the consequences for DUI arrest can potentially follow a person for the rest of his or her life. Having a strong legal advocate as soon as possible following a DUI arrest improves the driver's chances of achieving a positive outcome.

Source: madd.org, "Oklahoma To Become 29th All-Offender Interlock State", May 25, 2017

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