Most people in Mississippi know that driving a motor vehicle when intoxicated is not only unsafe, but also against the law. Unfortunately, too many drivers refuse to find other means of transportation when they choose to consume alcohol.

Mississippi residents should understand the current risks they face on area roads, highways and freeways due to this ongoing problem.

Statistics reveal a deadly trend

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving deaths in Mississippi rose for two consecutive years after starting to decline. In 2014, 28% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities occurred in accidents involving alcohol. The following year saw a decline to 25% and 2016 another drop to 20%. Unfortunately, the trend reversed in 2017 and 2018.

Drunk driving deaths in 2017 accounted for 22% of all accident fatalities statewide, jumping to 25% in 2018. To make matters worse, the overall number of accident fatalities dropped from 2017 to 2018 while drunk driving deaths increased.

Ignition interlock laws in Mississippi

Ignition interlock devices aim to prevent repeat occurrences of impaired driving by locking a vehicle’s ignition until a driver passes a breath test. Every state has different IID laws. The Mississippi Driver Service Bureau explains that a first offender in the state may lose their right to drive for 120 days but they may reinstate their driving privileges for some of that time by using an ignition interlock device.

The National Conference of State Legislature indicates that some states’ laws are far stricter, requiring the use of an IID for a full year even after a first drunk driving offense.