Is An Ignition Interlock an Opportunity?

Some may consider an ignition interlock in their car a  part of their punishment for a DUI conviction. They consider the device part of the DUI package: a fine, a stay in jail, perhaps an impounded vehicle, and now an ignition interlock device, or IID,  to install and learn to use.

To many drivers, having to blow into the device every time they drive feels like a punishment and it is not an easy or convenient thing to do.

The sole purpose of an ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is not is to prevent alcohol-related road accidents. It treats all drivers of a vehicle equally, demanding that they breathe into a mouthpiece for a few seconds before starting the engine.

It can also be an opportunity to examine patterns of risky drinking and evaluate behavior that may have contributed to the initial DUI.  At a critical time, having faced a legal consequence for drinking, ignition interlock users (and the public) are prevented from re-offending, which may mean its time to rethink their drinking behavior.   The NIAAA has wonderful resources for everyone who would like to check their use alcohol and see if there are any reasons why they should be concerned.  It’s Rethinking Drinking site has information on what is considered low risk drinking, when to consider changing your habits around alcohol and the true alcohol content of popular beverages and glass sizes.

Most people get used to the interlock quickly. The procedure of testing and random re-tests becomes an automatic task like fastening seat belts.

And like a seat belt, an ignition interlock is not a punishment – it’s a safety device. If you’ve been convicted of DUI/DWI or OWI, an interlock allows you to keep driving, working, going to school, and otherwise lead a normal life.  It may also be a catalyst for changing how you think about your drinking.