Ignition Interlock Devices Save Taxpayer Money
Ignition interlock programs save taxpayers money. That’s because the device is paid for by the offender. While the costs vary across jurisdictions, they device costs about $70 for installation, and an additional $70 monthly for downloading, reporting data, and maintenance. Some states are adopting a program to accommodate indigent offenders who would not otherwise be able to afford the device. In fact, some judges are able to reduce or eliminate fines for offenders who install the device in the vehicle. Offenders who can’t afford the ignition interlock system should not be excluded from the program because of cost. There isn’t a set determination for indigent offenders. The choice to assist an offender should be at the discretion of the court based on qualifications for a public defender, qualifications for food stamps, federal poverty guidelines or financial hardship.
Cost-benefit analyses show that installing an ignition interlock system in vehicles of all impaired drivers would not only reduce a large number of fatalities, but it would also save money. A Norwegian study notes that installing alcohol interlocks in the vehicles of all impaired drivers would have an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 8.75. This means that for every dollar spent on alcohol interlocks, there will be a saving of nine dollars.
There are more cost-saving reasons to order an ignition interlock device as a punishment. If vehicles of DUI offenders are equip with an interlock system, less law enforcement, less police, and fewer DUI checkpoints will be required. In fact, there are discussions that ALL vehicles in the future will come with ignition interlock systems, meaning there will be virtually no need for DUI checkpoints at all.
Ignition interlock systems allow DUI offenders to drive to work. That means they will be less dependent on government assistance, again saving taxpayer money. It also benefits the offender’s family because they can still drive their children to school, or to other programs or appointments.
Another obvious savings from ignition interlock devices is that there will be fewer drunk driving accidents. Fewer wrecks means less hospital bills paid for by the government. This also will bring down the insurance costs. Taxpayers will save money with lowered costs for care of uninsured injured persons.
If a judge sentences a DUI offender to put an ignition interlock system in his or her car, then legally, the offender will still have a license. With less unlicensed drivers on the road, there will be more insured drivers because they are driving legally.