MADD: Ignition Interlocks Stopped 354,372 DUI Attempts Last Year

igniiton-interlocks-workOne of the benefits of using ignition interlock devices as an anti-drunk driving measure is that they record a lot of useful data that helps legislators and courts understand how their efforts are working. Recently Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released its annual tally of drunk driving attempts that were prevented by the devices, which require DUI offenders to pass a breath test before their vehicle can start.

As it turns out, people with interlocks tried to drive under the influence 354,372 times last year. The ignition interlock stopped them. Some of those attempts, if successful, would have resulted in collisions, injuries, and deaths.

Drunk Driving – Still a Public Health Crisis

MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church said that these numbers confirm that “drunk driving is a national public health crisis.” It’s also the leading killer on our roads.

For that reason, more and more states are passing laws which require all DUI offenders, including first offenders, to use ignition interlocks. New Mexico began this trend in 2006. As of this month, 32 states and Washington, D.C. now have all-offender ignition interlock laws. Iowa was the most recent state to step up and pass such a law.

There’s no doubt that this trend is saving lives. Last year’s total is more than 5,000 higher than the year before. The data means we know that the devices are working.

More Than 2.6 Million DUI Incidents Stopped

The numbers, when added up, are even more impressive. Since that first 2006 ignition interlock law, the devices have now prevented 2,686,673 incidences of drunk driving all told.

MADD’s goal is to have ignition interlocks required for all drunk driving offenders in all 50 states. A few years ago that might have seemed daunting, but all-offender laws are clearly a national trend now. Drunk driving is, as Colleen Sheehy-Church said, a serious problem, but there’s a serious solution out there, and more lives can be saved if legislators can be convinced of the very real benefits of ignition interlock. Our suggestion: start with the numbers.