The Real Cost of Drunk Driving
A report was recently released which shows that drunk driving costs the United States more than $132 billion each year. This is according to data compiled by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). You may think that if you don’t drink and drive, these costs don’t affect you. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The below costs affect all of us.
• Higher insurance rates – While directly passed on to the offender, a significant portion of the costs are often indirectly passed on to the general consumer through incremental premium increases.
• Higher taxes – Even first-time offenders place a significant burden on society through the cost of law enforcement, housing in jails and prison, judicial and administrative costs.
• Medical and property costs – EMS at crash scenes, guardrails and road signs are just a few things that are funded by tax dollars.
• Human cost – Lives are forever altered by drunk driving. According to MADD, “This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes – one every 50 minutes.”
Though not a cure-all, ignition interlock devices can reduce some of these costs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the public saves $3 to 7 dollars for every $1 spent on ignition interlock devices for drunk driving offenders. In addition, ignition interlocks have been shown to reduce recidivism on average by 64%.
Ignition interlocks also allow people to legally drive to work and meet their family and court ordered obligations. Ignition interlock devices keep communities safer by guaranteeing that the driver has not been drinking.
Reduced recidivism and a legal driving status do not solve the problem alone, but together can be a powerful force. Studies have shown that by effectively regulating an offender’s driving through an interlock device, an individual can develop improved behaviors, giving the person an opportunity to understand the long term effects of alcohol consumption. By better understanding these behaviors, he or she can begin to make better choices, often with the support of their family.
Driving is essential to meeting daily commitments and responsibilities. Driving illegally under suspension can have serious or even deadly consequences. An interlock provides discipline when and where it is needed, helping the individual and the public avoid the tragic and life altering consequences of drinking and driving.