How many times should one person be able to drive drunk before they’re caught, convicted, and sent to jail for a long, long time? There’s no simple answer to that question, and although many states have repeat offender laws that include jail time, driver’s license suspensions, and ignition interlocks, not every state agrees on how best to deal with a repeat offender.
That might be why a Michigan man managed to rack up thirteen repeat offender drunk driving convictions, and he’s just been arrested for drunk driving again. Shockingly enough, it was a routine traffic violation and not a drunk driving crash that managed to net him his fourteenth arrest.
After the officer checked his record he found the thirteen previous convictions, all dating back to 1998. He also had several convictions for driving on a suspended license, and now he can add a felony drunk driving charge to that long list. He’s currently waiting out his date with the judge in the county jail.
How can anyone receive that many drunk driving violations and still be behind the wheel? Statistics that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) cites are true: a large number of repeat offenders will still drive on a suspended driver’s license, despite one or several drunk driving convictions. That’s why MADD advocates for ignition interlocks for first time offenders.
Ignition interlocks stop a first time offender from becoming a repeat offender, and if the device is used in compliance with state laws, it will reduce the likelihood that the drunk driver will drive under the influence again, even when the interlock has been removed.
As of right now, drunk driving laws in Michigan only require ignition interlocks for first time offenders with high blood alcohol concentrations, and habitual offenders like this man are required to have their license revoked, only to be reinstated when they have an ignition interlock installed. That clearly didn’t happen in this case.
An offender with thirteen drunk driving convictions isn’t common in Michigan, but it still shows that the state needs to get on board with an all offender ignition interlock law. An interlock would stop first time offenders from becoming habitual offenders like this man, and if he or anyone like him is prevented from driving drunk again and again, that would keep Michigan roads safer for everyone.