Every day in the United States, as many as 28 people die as a result of drunk driving. If that wasn’t enough, the annual cost of crashes related to alcohol totals more than $59 billion.
To help cut down on drunk driving-related deaths, interlock ignition devices or IIDs can be of tremendous help. Wondering what an IID is? It’s a breath-testing device that a driver is required to blow into before they start their vehicle. If that person’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading is too high, then the vehicle doesn’t start.
Ignition interlock devices typically prohibit a car’s engine from starting if the alcohol sensor registers above a pre-set level, which is around .02 BAC. Additionally, most IIDs will prompt a driver to perform a rolling retest about five to 15 minutes after a vehicle has started and that will continue randomly throughout a trip.
Ignition interlock devices may seem like a costly hassle, but there are several reasons why ignition interlock devices can be very beneficial.
- Lower recidivism: One benefit of ignition interlock devices is that recidivism (repeat offender) rates are reduced significantly. In fact, interlocks can help to reduce repeat offenses even after a device is removed by 39% compared to offenders who never installed an interlock. When they are installed, interlocks are associated with about a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving.
Not only do ignition interlock devices help reduce repeat offenses, but they’ve also been proven more effective compared to suspending a driver’s license.
- Being able to drive: Another benefit of ignition interlock devices is that they allow DWI offenses to keep or regain their status as a legal driver. There are already about 150,000 interlock systems installed in cars in the United States, having been placed there for drivers with multiple DUI convictions.
Maintaining the ability to drive may be crucial for DWI and DUI offenders as it concerns support family and maintaining employment. It also allows them to fulfill court-ordered responsibilities that may require driving such as probation meetings or treatment meetings.
- Cost effective: Having an ignition interlock device installed in a vehicle does cost money, it’s true. But consider the cost of ignition interlock devices versus the costs of punishments you may face if you violate court orders or fines or jail time you may face for another drunk driving offense.
- Saving lives: Make no mistake, ignition interlock devices make roads safer and save lives. Research has shown that states that require the use of IIDs such as Louisiana, Oregon and New Mexico have cut down on DWI deaths by as much as 30%.
- Predictability: Since IIDs regularly require and record breath tests, they can reliably predict when a driver might be at risk for a repeat offense. This is because DWI offenders with failed BAC tests have been shown to have a greater chance of making a repeat offense, even after an IID has been uninstalled from a vehicle.
Why does all that matter? Having a log of breath tests from an IID can be crucial in helping to determine whether or not a DWI offender’s license should be restored.
If that wasn’t enough, IIDs can be beneficial because it serves as a reminder to the offender of what might happen if they break the rules. This gives that person’s family a degree of reassurance since they know the offender can’t drink and drive with an IID in the car.
Between their ability to reduce recidivism, save lives and hold DWI offenders more accountable, there are plenty of benefits to using ignition interlock devices and using one in your vehicle is much more beneficial than the potential penalties that could come with a repeat DUI or DWI offense.