Ignition interlocks save lives, and now that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has created the report “How Technology Has Stopped 1.77 Million Drunk Drivers,” we have a definitive number as to how many drunk drivers have been kept off the roads by the devices.
Compiled from data taken from 11 of the major ignition interlock providers, the report details how ignition interlocks have stopped 1.77 million attempts to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08. Ignition interlocks are designed to stop any drive with a BAC of .25 or higher, so if you factor in that lower BAC, more than 12.72 million people have been stopped from driving while the device was installed.
When you see the cold, hard numbers, it’s hard to argue against the safety benefits offered by ignition interlocks, and MADD is using the report to push states without first offender ignition interlock laws to consider putting one in place. As of right now, there are 25 states that have a first offender ignition interlock laws on the books, and MADD would like to see each state have a first offender law that requires anyone who is arrested with a BAC over .08 to be required to use the devices instead of receiving a driver’s license suspension.
Why is MADD pushing so hard for ignition interlocks? There are quite a few reasons:
- MADD believes that first time offenders are serious offenders. Research has indicated that people who drive drunk will drive drunk at least 80 times before they are stopped, so requiring a first offender to use an ignition interlock isn’t a severe punishment
- Ignition interlocks stop a first offender from becoming a repeat offender. If they drink alcohol, the car won’t start
- The offender won’t lose their driver’s license, so they can continue on with their lives rather than wait out a driver’s license suspension
Ignition interlocks are a big part of MADD’s continuing Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, and if all states take MADD’s recommendation to enact an all-offender ignition interlock law, the roads in the USA will be safer for everyone.