The One Good Thing about Justin Bieber and His Recent DUI Arrest
The only thing good about Bieber’s recent DUI arrest is that everybody knows about it. Nearly 1.5 million Americans are arrested annually on DUI charges. This makes it the No. 1 crime for which Americans are arrested. Yet, of those convicted, more than half do not comply with the law. They continue to drive illegally on a suspended license. So yes, we may be outraged about Justin Bieber’s plea bargaining. But he is not quietly breaking the law as more than half a million Americans do every day.
Bieber is Just One of Many Who Needs an Interlock
In 2004, the U.S. legislators passed a law requiring DUI and DWI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle. This device measures current blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the BAC is above the state maximum, the vehicle will not start.
However, this law has been implemented differently by each state and is not strictly enforced in most. Statistics show that up to three quarters of those convicted of DUIs continue to drive on a suspended license. They avoid having the device installed and monitored.
This is a distressing statistic. Consider that one person is injured in an alcohol-related accident every minute. Over 10,000 people die in drunk-driving accidents every year. In fact, in 2010, legally drunk adults got behind the wheel about 112 million times—roughly 300,000 times each day.
Interlock devices are proven effective to stop drinking while under the influence. Offenders simply can’t start their cars. In New Mexico, where interlock devices are mandatory for DUI offenders, there has been a 35% reduction in alcohol fatalities.
Even offenders agree that these devices work. In California, over 88% of offenders claimed that the device kept them from drinking and driving.
We can only hope that Justin Bieber accepts the plea bargain offered and is required to have an interlock device. But wouldn’t it be even better if the other half a million Americans who drive on suspended licenses were required to comply as well.