Are Ignition Interlock Devices Effective?

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County drunk driving lawyerJust how effective are ignition interlock devices? The tiny devices that prevent intoxicated drivers from starting or operating a vehicle have grown in popularity across the country as an effective method to prevent drunk driving. Since the first legislation on ignition interlock devices was put in place in 1999, every state in the country now utilizes the devices to help combat DUIs. Twenty-five states, including Illinois, have laws in place that require the devices be used after any DUI conviction, and drunk driving advocates are calling for other states to follow suit.

Do the devices really keep American roadways safer? According to a report released recently by the widely known drunk driving awareness group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), ignition interlock devices have thwarted 1.77 million drunk driving attempts nationwide since their first use.

The report, the first of its kind, used data provided by the 11 major companies that manufacture ignition interlock devices. The devices are installed in an offender’s vehicle and prevent the car from starting unless the driver blows into the device to prove their sobriety. The devices may also require drivers to stop mid-drive and blow again, ensuring that they cannot start drinking on the road or have another person start their vehicle for them. According to MADD, the states that use the devices the most frequently have seen the most drastic decreases in DUIs and DUI related fatalities. Arizona, for example, has seen drunk driving deaths decrease by 50 percent since they first began using the tools to stop drunk driving. Many other states have seen 30 to 40 percent decreases.

The report includes any attempt to start a vehicle by a driver whose blood alcohol content was .08, the legal limit, or higher. Since the state of Illinois began utilizing the devices, 96,456 drunk driving attempts have been prevented. In Washington, 103,913 attempts have been stopped. In Colorado, 92,503 attempts have been thwarted. That is only including drivers who have been at the legal limit of intoxication or higher, and MADD says that the figures for those who blow a .025 or higher are much larger. Upwards of 12 million buzzed drivers have been stopped thanks to the devices.

Now, drunk driving advocates are calling for every state across the country to require the devices be installed in every DUI case. While every state does currently use the device in some way, some states only use them in cases involving repeat offenders, or with drivers who have a qualifying blood alcohol content. In Maryland, for example, the devices are only required in cases where the driver’s blood alcohol content is .15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit.

Other states let judges decide whether to use the devices or not on a case by case basis. Drunk driving advocates say that for the devices to be truly effective, they need to be required after every DUI case. In a statement released by MADD, the organization says no other preventative measures are as effective as ignition interlock devices, and that no other option physically prevents drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated like an ignition interlock device can. “That is why MADD believe every option for treatment and rehabilitation should include an ignition-interlock requirement to allow the offenders to safely travel without putting others or themselves at risk.”

Opponents to the devices say they are too expensive to utilize in every case, but advocates say drunk drivers simply cannot be trusted to not repeat themselves. In fact, around a third of individuals arrested for or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders, and studies show that the average drunk driver has driven intoxicated 80 times prior to being caught.

DUI Charges Could Mean Severe Consequences

Most law enforcement agencies across the country hold a “no-tolerance” policy towards drunk drivers, and drunk driving penalties have become harsher. If you are facing DUI charges, you need the help of a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. You need an attorney with a track record of success. Call 312-270-0999 today to schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. Attorney Garfinkel, a former prosecutor, has successfully defended many clients from DUI related charges. Do not leave your future in the hands of the Illinois legal system. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-drunken-drivers-have-ignition-interlocks-stopped-1420683820456/

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/02/11/car-locking-systems-stopped-more-than-million-drunk-drivers-madd-report-says.html

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