MADD: Ignition Interlocks Stopped 2.3 Million Drunk Driving Incidents

ignition interlock at workIt’s been a decade now that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been pressing states to adopt ignition interlocks as a measure to prevent drunk drivers from repeating their crime. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Last year MADD released a report with the astonishing news that ignition interlocks had stopped 1.77 million instances of impaired driving nationwide. That’s 1.77 journeys that could have ended disastrously for the drivers, their passengers, other drivers or pedestrians.

MADD has kept on studying the devices, and the organization has just released a new report with more information supporting ignition interlocks, and a new total: in the last decade the devices have stopped 2.3 million attempts to drive drunk.

The reason MADD is releasing this new report, which lists state-by-state-data on vehicle starts prevented by ignition interlocks, is to reinforce the idea that every state needs to mandate the devices for all drunk driving offenses.

The Key: All-Offender Ignition Interlock Laws

gavelThere is a tendency for some lawmakers to back off on ignition interlock laws. They propose to mandate the devices only for second offenders, or for high-BAC (blood alcohol concentration) offenders, or to leave the matter of interlocks entirely to the judge’s discretion.

MADD and other organizations – the California DMV, NTSB, and NHTSA are cited in the report, along with some university studies –are in favor of ordering ignition interlocks for first drunk driving offenses at all BAC levels, as well as repeat offenses. Applying interlock programs to all offenders results in a lower rate of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.

More and more states are passing such all-offender interlock laws. The purpose of the report is to convince the holdout states that their citizens also deserve safer roads, and interlocks are the way to  do it.

If you’re not inclined to believe that ignition interlocks are the answer, read the report, and judge the evidence for yourself. Then please, get on board with the public-spirited people who are helping states adopt this life-saving technology.