Ignition Interlock System as Punishment
The main reason to use ignition interlock devices as a punishment is because the device saves lives by keeping drunk drivers off the roads. But these devices also are a good punishment because they fit the crime. If you drive drunk, you shouldn’t be able to drive again if you have alcohol in your system. Ignition interlock systems do just that. They prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Plus, thanks to advanced technology, there is no way to trick an ignition interlock system. As an alternative to jail, or as a deterrent for a first time offender, ignition interlock devices are an effective, safe and reliable punishment.
The goals of an ignition interlock system include incapacitation, deterrence, punishment, and rehabilitation. Incapacitation is a key element because it is necessary to prevent future DUI offenses by stopping the driver from drinking and driving. Research shows nearly 75% of unlicensed or suspended drivers will drive anyway. Ignition interlocks also work to deter drunk driving because DUI offenders will be punished if they do get behind the wheel. The punishment aspect of an ignition interlock is also effective. DUI offenders who are forced to install the device will have to deal with the consequences of their actions by reporting for service, providing the breath test, and dealing with the stigma attached to having the system in their vehicle. During the time the ignition interlock is installed, it is essential to encourage rehabilitation of the DUI offender. This increases the chances that the offender will not drink and drive again after the device is removed.
Ignition interlock devices have been consistently proven to prevent repeat behavior. Drivers who have an ignition interlock device in their car are much less likely to get behind the wheel, because if they do, their probation officer WILL find out about it. That’s why ignition interlock systems have lowered recidivism rates all over the country. When drivers know they have these devices in their cars, they will think twice about getting in the car, because they know they will have to pay the price if they do.
Plus, there is a benefit to having an ignition interlock device in a DUI offender’s car. The offender knows that without the ignition interlock system, they would not be able to drive at all. Since they are able to drive, they can continue to support their families by driving children to school, driving themselves to work and running necessary errands. At the same time that they are maintaining their responsibilities, an authority figure is making sure they are not drinking and driving. The right to drive is a privilege and ignition interlock devices make sure the DUI offender knows that. They can drive, but they better not drive drunk. Plus, a convicted drunk driver understands that the next option is losing his or her license and possibly jail time.
Remember, if a DUI offender is sentenced to install an ignition interlock system in his or her car, he will be paying the price, literally. There are monthly costs for the device, and the offender is responsible for paying for them. This way, taxpayers are not met with the burden of paying for jail time or any other punishment for a DUI offender.
Unfortunately, many convicted DUI offenders will drive even with a suspended license. Using an ignition interlock system will insure that these drivers can continue to drive legally, but when they do, it will not be drunk driving.
There are many judges who are still apprehensive about sentencing a DUI offender with an ignition interlock system as punishment. However, all over the country, more and more courts are using this system because of its success rate with keeping DUI offenders from repeating the crime over and over again. In fact, many states have established ignition interlock systems as a mandatory punishment even for first time offenders. It is clearly these devices are becoming more mainstream thanks to modern advancements. They can be trusted as a safe and effective form of punishment for DUI offenders.