What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?
An Ignition Interlock Device is a breath analyzer installed in a vehicle that prevents it from starting if the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is above a preset limit. The goal of an IID is not to punish but rather to aid in the rehabilitation of DUI offenders, and to keep the roads safer for everyone.
While the specifics of DUI laws and penalties vary from state to state, the general trend across the U.S. is leaning towards a mandatory IID installation for those convicted of DUI, especially for repeat offenders. This move is largely attributable to studies demonstrating the efficacy of IIDs in reducing recidivism among DUI offenders.
When an offender is ordered to install an IID, they’re generally responsible for all associated costs, including installation, maintenance, and monthly rental fees. These financial burdens serve as another deterrent to potential DUI offenders, as they can add up to several hundred of dollars over the course of a year.
It’s crucial to note that an IID not only requires a breath sample to start the vehicle but also demands random “rolling retests” while the vehicle is in operation. This feature is designed to prevent a sober person from starting the car for an intoxicated individual and to discourage drinking while driving. A failed or ignored retest will trigger the device to log the event, warn the driver, and initiate an alarm until the ignition is turned off.
Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?
The usage of IIDs has been widely supported by organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which advocates for their mandatory implementation for all convicted DUI offenders. According to MADD, states that have adopted IID regulations for all offenders, including first-time offenders, have seen significant reductions in drunk driving fatalities.
However, as with any law enforcement tool, IIDs are not without their challenges. Critics argue that they infringe on individual privacy rights and disproportionately impact low-income offenders who can’t afford the associated costs. There are also issues related to device accuracy and the potential for false positives.
Moreover, while an IID can prevent an intoxicated person from starting a vehicle, it does not address the broader issue of substance abuse, which often underlies DUI behavior. Therefore, many states supplement the use of IIDs with mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs to address the root of the problem.
Despite these challenges, the widespread use of IIDs has shown promising results in the fight against DUI. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IIDs reduce repeat offenses for DUI by about 70% while they are installed.
Are Ignition Interlock Devices Here to Stay?
Ignition Interlock Devices represent a significant advancement in combating DUI incidents across America. As states continue to refine their DUI laws and penalties, the incorporation of IIDs as a standard consequence of DUI convictions may become more prevalent. It is clear that they are an important tool in the broader context of DUI enforcement, providing a practical method to ensure that individuals who have been charged with DUI are physically deterred from repeating their dangerous behavior. However, they should not be viewed as a panacea, but as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing DUI offenses that includes education, treatment, and personal responsibility.