Ignition Interlocks Have Stopped More Than 3 Million Drunk Driving Attempts in 12 Years

 MADD’s Top Legislative Priority Is for All Drunk Drivers to Use Interlocks After First Offense


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announced that in-car breathalyzers have stopped a driver who is drunk from starting his or her vehicle over 3 million times since 2006, when MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and began advocating for ignition interlocks for every drunk driver.

The data, collected by MADD from 11 ignition interlock manufacturers, was unveiled during a presentation by Frank Harris, MADD’s Director of State Government Affairs, at the Association of Ignition Interlock Program Administrators’ (AIIPA) 2019 Annual Conference in San Diego.

Over the last 12 years, ignition interlocks have prevented 89,085 people from driving drunk in Florida.  Florida’s ignition interlock law calls for mandatory ignition interlock only if the DUI offender’s BAC is over .15.  MADD in Florida has been urging lawmakers to pass an all-offender interlock bill so we can achieve our vision of a nation of #NoMoreVictims.

“Drunk driving deaths are down 19 percent since 2006, even though people are driving more now than 12 years ago,” Harris said. “MADD believes a big reason for this decrease is the more than 3 million times an interlock prevented someone from driving drunk along with the hundreds of state laws MADD has helped enact to improve the implementation of this lifesaving device.”

The new data shows that ignition interlocks stopped almost 348,000 attempts to drive drunk in 2018. This is the third year MADD has surveyed interlock manufacturers and released the findings to help illustrate how many people would be on the road, driving drunk, if they had not been stopped by an ignition interlock.

“As a mother who lost her 16-year-old daughter to this preventable crime, I am horrified to learn that even after people have been arrested and ordered to use an ignition interlock, they still try to drink and drive. And they would be driving impaired, if not for this technology that stops them,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “We have so much more work to do, because we are still losing almost 11,000 people a year to drunk driving crashes.”

Ignition interlock laws are supported by every major traffic safety organization and countless studies have found the devices save lives. The most recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found mandatory interlock laws reduce DUI deaths by 16 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlock use prevents DUI recidivism by 67 percent compared to license suspension alone.

When MADD began advocating for ignition interlock laws for all offenders in 2006, only New Mexico had an all-offender interlock law. Today, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have these laws, and states have made improvements to their laws year after year. In 2019, Kentucky became the 33rd state to enact an all-offender law. Similar legislation is pending in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina and Wisconsin.