Ignition Interlock as Deterrent to DUI
There has been a steady decline over the last couple of years in regards to fatalities brought by accidents related to driving under the influence.
In 2007, 32 states have reported a decrease in fatalities related to drunk driving from 28 states the previous year.
But there is still some bad news, even with the decrease in fatalities, there were still 12,998 deaths reported as a result of DUI. The number is still very high despite the various laws that are being enforced to curve this problem.
DUI is still the primary cause of road accidents in the US. DUI is also the leading cause of deaths of American aged 16 – 24 years old.
The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) had been advocating different measures to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries through accidents caused by DUI.
One of these measures is the Ignition Interlock Law. Though not a perfect solution, it is seen as a positive avenue to curing the DUI problem.
IGNITION INTERLOCK LAW
In California, the Ignition Interlock law (AB762) is under the Farr-Davis Safety Act of 1986. This law requires judges to order people convicted of DUI on a suspended driver’s license or at their discretion, to install an Ignition Interlock in vehicles.
An ignition interlock is a device installed in a vehicle that prevents DUI. It is a breath test machine that is hard wired to the ignition switch.
A driver is required to take a breath test to start the car and at random times while driving. This is a preventive measure that keeps drunken drivers from driving a car.
When a court orders an offender to install an ignition interlock, it is usually them that shoulders the expenses for installation.
The installation of the device goes at around $100-200. There is usually a monthly fee of around $70-100 as well. The DUI offender is also responsible for the maintenance and data transfers of the device.
The Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) study shows that though it can have an impact as a deterrent for DUI it was not effectively implemented in California.
A number of reasons that reduced its effectiveness are:
- Many of the DUI offenders cannot afford the high cost of installation and maintenance of the Ignition Interlock.
- Many of the DUI offenders complain that having an ignition interlock installed is difficult and time consuming.
- Lastly, most DUI offenders have no vehicles of their own.
Because of these reasons, only about 27% of the California judges impose the installation of ignition interlocks to DUI offenders.
Although some setbacks have been encountered, there were still positive feedbacks given to the law.
The DMV reported that though implementation in California was ineffective at the current time, some modifications to the program could be implemented to increase its effect.
This is due to some direct feedback from those who were able to use the device. They said that the device was able to prevent them from drunk driving and have changed their drinking behavior positively.