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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Report: Interlock Devices Cut Drunk-Driving Deaths by 15 Percent

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Monday, March 21, 2016   

LOS ANGELES - States that require ignition-interlock devices for all drunk-driving offenders have seen a 15 percent drop in deaths from alcohol-related crashes, according to a new report.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found Driving Under the Influence (DUI) crashes take 11,000 American lives each year. Their report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, recommends more states require the devices for all DUI offenders.

California only has a pilot program requiring ignition-interlock devices for five months for first-time offenders in Tulare, Alameda, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties.

Frank Harris, director of state government affairs for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calls the pilot program wildly successful.

"They have stopped over 124,000 drunk-driving attempts since July 2010 in California," says Harris. "And these devices separate drinking from driving as long as they are installed on an offender's vehicle. So, we know these devices are effective."

But the pilot program expires next year. The State Senate Public Safety Committee is considering a bill on March 29 that would make California the 26th state to require ignition-interlock devices for all offenders.

Senate Bill 1046 also allows convicted drunk drivers to get an ignition interlock in order to avoid a license suspension that could cost them their job.

Currently, these drivers have to wait at least 30 days before getting an ignition interlock. Harris says some in the California Department of Motor Vehicles oppose the bill, believing the current system of suspensions to be effective.

"By taking away someone's license, it's a hope for the best approach," Harris says. "The DMV and the state government, using hope as a strategy to fight drunk driving, is not going to stop drunk driving."

Harris says he expects the DMV to release its own report on the pilot ignition-interlock program soon.


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