Ignition Interlocks Increase Safety

A DUI offender sentenced to spend a few months in jail, pay a fine, or forced to attend alcohol education classes may still drink and drive once his or her sentence is complete. Plus, even if the offender’s license is suspended, he or she will often drive anyway. This leads to more incidents of drunk driving, regardless of the punishment handed down by the court.

Alternatively, with the installation of an ignition interlock device, the DUI offender will be unable to drink and drive. Research shows that during the first several weeks, the offender will likely try and tamper with the device. Remember, any tampering will be recorded as a violation and sent to the offender’s probation officer or judge. However, after those first few weeks, offenders give up on attempting to circumvent the system. The sophisticated technology that has been developed prevents tampering, therefore, it becomes clear to the DUI offender that trying to circumvent the device is futile. The only way to trick the device is for the offender to find a different car to drive. However, research shows that this is infrequent.

Research shows offenders are taking the fact that safety is increasing into account. A study in the UK found offenders actually credited the interlock device for curbing their drinking habits. Keeping DUI offenders from drinking and driving a second, third or fourth time will keep our streets safe.

There has been research conducted on recidivism rates after an ignition interlock device has been installed. First time offenders and repeat offenders have reported reductions in drinking and driving from 35 to 90 percent, averaging 64%. Further studies for first time offenders noted that recidivism rates dropped significantly for those DUI offenders that do have an ignition interlock system. In fact, the re-arrest rate for those with the device in their vehicle was 3.51% and 7.09% for drivers with no ignition interlock in their car.

A number of studies on repeat offenders found ignition interlock devices to be one of the most promising ways to stop another DUI from occurring. One study found that an alcohol interlock device installed in repeat offenders’ vehicles reduced the risk of committing an alcohol traffic violation by 65% in the first year. Plus, the study also showed that repeat offenders with the ignition interlock device were one-fifth as likely to be arrested for DUI than those without the device.

Keeping the streets safe from DUI offenders who were likely to repeat their behavior without an interlock system is clearly possible from all these studies. Installing ignition interlock devices can help prevent recidivism and will reduce the amount of drunk drivers on the streets.

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