All fifty states have laws against driving while intoxicated. In fact, all fifty states have established a legal threshold of 0.08% blood-alcohol content as being legally intoxicated, and therefore, illegal to be driving. After these similarities, however, DUI statutes and punishments vary widely from state to state. One thing that is becoming more common is for convicted offenders to have to install an ignition interlock device (IID).
Alcolock, a leading manufacturer and installer of ignition interlock devices, is familiar with their use and the fact that they do help reduce repeat DUI offenders.
An ignition interlock device is a breath-test machine, similar to the breathalyzers used by police. It is connected to a vehicle’s ignition system. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the machine to ensure that they are not intoxicated. Additionally, the device will require random tests while the vehicle is in use to ensure that someone didn’t have a sober friend or family member blow into the device to start the vehicle.
All 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock law. However, not all states require that a first-time offender have a device installed. 32 states currently require an ignition interlock device to be installed for all offenders. For those who refuse a blood-alcohol test, 31 states have laws stating that even first-time offenders can be required to install an IID if convicted after refusing to take a breath or blood test.
Like most services, the cost of the IID device and installation and monitoring fees vary. The installation can run from $50 to $150. Monthly monitoring, maintenance, and lease fees have similar costs, ranging from $50 to $150 per month. The removal fee also runs between $50 to $150. However, most states have assistance programs for those who are unable to pay the costs associated with an IID.
After passing ignition interlock installation requirements for all DUI offenders, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, and New Mexico saw deaths related to drunk driving drop dramatically. According to the CDC, repeat offenders are reduced about two-thirds where ignition interlock devices are required for first-time offenders.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine conducted a 30-year-study assessing the effectiveness of IID devices in reducing drunk driving fatalities. Between 1982 to 2013, using data directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency found that there was a 7% reduction in drunk driving fatalities in states with first offender IID requirements.
An ignition interlock device can prove beneficial in both reducing instances of drunk driving as well as accidents that occur due to drunk driving. Not only do these devices save lives, but they have also reduced the costs associated with court fees, jail time, injury, and property damage that occurs due to intoxicated driving.