There’s a reason why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stands firmly behind ignition interlocks as a penalty for all drunk drivers, even those stopped for drunk driving for the first time. Fifty to seventy five percent of drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended driver’s license, and the only way to stop them is to require them to blow into an interlock before they can start the car.
Despite the fact that 28 states now require ignition interlocks for all offenders, people are continuing to skip the penalty. Maybe they’ve transferred the ownership of their vehicle over to another driver to avoid it or they’ve gone through the process of removing the ignition interlock from their vehicle themselves; either way, the end result is that they’re driving free, clear, and in some cases, not sober, and that’s when they get into trouble again.
If you think it doesn’t happen very often, think again: a man in Meadville, Pennsylvania just became a great example of what can happen if a drunk driver removes his ignition interlock and gets behind the wheel again and again. He was driving and almost caused a crash in one incident, and not long after caused another where he was driving, swerved into traffic, and hit a vehicle.
There’s no doubt an ignition interlock would have stopped him, and although he was required to drive with one he’d already removed it from his vehicle. Because of that he’s been charged with not one, not two, but five misdemeanors and two traffic violations stemming from both incidents. One of these was a third degree misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.025. Another was a misdemeanour count of operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock.
What are the consequences of removing your ignition interlock and driving drunk again? It depends on your state and the judge you end up in front of. In this case the Pennsylvania man is in jail waiting for his court date, and it’s all because he wanted to skip the ignition interlock and continue to make the choice to drink and drive.