The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest, and on any given day, your family shares the roadways with more than 2 million drunk drivers who have had three or more prior convictions.
While suspending the license of these individuals makes sense, in reality, three out of four of those with a suspended license continue to drive, threatening the safety of you and your loved ones. That’s why MADD supports the usage of ignition interlock devices to require all convicted drunk drivers to prove they are sober before the car will start.
What is an Ignition Interlock?
An ignition interlock is a device about the size of a cell phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. A convicted drunk driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start. It is a simple and economical way to make sure that offenders can drive to and from work, but that they can’t drive drunk.
Requiring Interlocks for All Offenders Saves Lives
West Virgina, Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico have all seen their drunk driving deaths drop dramatically after all-offender interlock laws were passed. CDC research finds reductions in repeat offenses of about two-thirds due to interlocks.
Just think, if about a third of the drunk driving problem that kills almost 11,000 people each year and injures about 315,000 more comes from repeat offenders, and we can reduce their repeat offenses by two-thirds, we can save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of injuries each year.
Now it’s not that simple, for a few reasons:
- Currently, 34 states, plus Washington D.C., require interlocks for all offenders. See if your state is one here. If it isn’t, we need you to let your legislators know you want this law passed.
- Even when laws are passed, they are not always enforced. We need court monitors to help see if the system is failing us; please click here to volunteer with MADD.