August 15, 2022

The Value of the Ignition Interlock Device

There are currently about 28 deaths on a daily basis from drunk driving. This means that there are far more drivers on the road after excessive alcohol intake than there should be. And this is a bad thing. One way to reduce this fact is the ignition interlock device.

How the Ignition Interlock Device Works

Basically, the ignition interlock device is a traveling breathalyzer required for those who have multiple DUI convictions. However, the question remains as to whether these devices should be placed in the cars of first-time offenders as well. Often there is the requirement for a re-test every five to 15 minutes or at least occasionally throughout the trip.

Positive Benefits of the Interlock Device

Ignition interlock installation is likely an embarrassing situation for the driver, but considering the positive results, it is a beneficial event. Ignition interlock devices have been able to reduce repeat offenses, alcohol-related accidents, and deaths from drunk-driving. With all of those events that we see on the news daily, there is much to be said for those numbers being cut significantly.

Some factors that support the improvements based upon the interlock device include the following:

  • There is an average 70% reduction in impaired-driving arrests upon installation.
  • Even with removed devices, initial installation reduces repeat offenses by 39% compared to those who never install a device.
  • Drivers involved in fatal accidents with a BAC above 0.08 were 6X more often prior offenders than those with no alcohol in their systems.

Existing Facts About the Ignition Interlock Device

Right now, the interlock devices installed after DUI offenses have pre-set testing levels that will prevent the engine from starting if not met. In many cases, this is as low as 0.02. There are already about 150,000 interlock devices on the road today, having played a factor in those traffic safety improvements.

Considering the present annual cost of alcohol-related crashes being $59 billion, there is the future potential for interlock devices to be mandatory in all cars. While this could cut the cost of those accidents, the installation cost would be an addition for all drivers, even those who have never committed a DUI. If this does happen, it will likely reduce the required BAC for the car to start from the breathalyzer standard of 0.08 to as low as 0.03.

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