Ignition interlock devices work, according to new evidence provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
They report that more than 1.7 million drunk drivers were not able to get on the road after using one. Are you searching for drug and alcohol rehab in Raleigh NC? Legacy Freedom can help you! Call today to learn more about our Raleigh treatment options.
Drunk Driving Prevention With Ignition Locks
The devices were designed to check the blood alcohol level of a driver before he or she can turn on the engine. The driver must blow into the mouthpiece on the device, which is the size of a cellphone, before starting the car. If the results are greater than the state’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, which is programmed into the device, then it prevents the engine from being started. The BAC for most states is .08 or higher, but the device is generally programmed to stop people with a BAC of .025.
MADD’s report shows that over 1.7 million drunk driving incidents were prevented since states have passed the law to use them. A signal sends the information back to the manufacturer, who keeps track of how many times it has prevented a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. The data came from 11 of the companies who make the devices.
The Center for Disease Control reports that ignition interlock devices have reduced repeat offenses of driving while impaired by 67 percent.
The devices are installed in the vehicles of those who have been convicted of a drunk driving offense, especially for repeat offenders. There are laws in 25 states pertaining to ignition interlocks for drunk driving offenders, including North Carolina, but what they allow varies. Some only require them for certain levels of offenses and BAC levels and often it is left up to the judge’s discretion.
MADD hopes that in the future all 50 states will have ignition interlock laws. They urge legislators to pass them in the states that have not. They also want them to be installed in the vehicles of first time offenders.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has shown support in the past that anyone convicted of drunk driving offense should have one installed. Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB vice chairman, said it would allow a person convicted of a drunk driving offense to continue to get around, but it would help them learn to separate drinking and driving. She adds that it may also keep that person from becoming a second or third offender.
Opponents of the idea believe they are too expensive and waste the state’s time. They believe that the devices should only be used in cases of multiple offenders.
The U.S. is not the only place that uses ignition interlocks. In Sweden, Japan and Canada, legislators have asked for them to be installed in all new cars as a standard feature. A 2015 study concluded that about 85 percent of alcohol-related deaths could be prevented in the U.S. if all cars had the devices installed in them.
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