A mom with 3 children in her car, a man with 4 children and his wife in the vehicle, and another mom who was driving drunk with her two children unrestrained in the backseat – although these people are great examples of parents making the choice to drink, drive, and take their children’s life in their hands, they also make great cases for the use of the ignition interlock device.
The news is full of stories of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests every day, but it’s especially disturbing when you read about people who choose to drink with their kids in the vehicle. The woman suspected of drinking and driving with her 3 kids in the car? She had been drinking and was caught after she rear-ended a police cruiser. The man with 4 children was stopped for not wearing a seat belt but was asked to submit to a roadside sobriety test after the officer detected alcohol. Although his children were released to the custody of his wife, a passenger in the vehicle, Child Protective Services was informed.
The mom with unrestrained kids was driving while under the influence and driving without a valid license. She was charged with two felony counts of child endangerment, two misdemeanor charges for failing to have her children in car seats, and a misdemeanor for driving with a suspended license.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) has data showing that 50 to 70% of drunk drivers will drive with suspended licenses, and the average drunk driver will drive intoxicated approximately 80 times before they’re arrested. The ignition interlock device is the best chance for stopping parents like these from getting behind the wheel and driving drunk with their children in tow because if they are drinking, the car won’t start. It’s that simple.
In 2011, there were 226 children killed in drinking and driving-related crashes. 54% of those children were riding in the vehicle with the drunk driver at the time of the crash. It’s all too easy for people to think of victims of drunk driving crashes as just statistics and numbers, but it becomes very real when you find out it was an innocent child who died. The bottom line? If a parent can’t stop themselves from drinking, driving, and endangering their children, the ignition interlock device definitely will.